Legacy in the News: Legacy Cancer Institute Encourages Prevention, Early Detection in Response to Rising Breast Cancer Rates in Young Women

KGW NewsChannel 8

March 19, 2013

The Journal of the American Medical Association released a study this month that found the rate of young women ages 25 to 39 diagnosed with aggressive metastatic breast cancer has tripled over the past three decades. This troubling trend affects women of all ethnic backgrounds, in rural areas as well as cities, and it has been accelerating in recent years.

Angela Lewis-Traylor, MD, surgical oncologist at Legacy Medical Group—Surgical Oncology who specializes in breast cancer, says there is no reason to panic about the study but says it’s time to think about prevention.

“We see 60 to 100 patients a year here under the age of 40. It is heartbreaking and often the cancer has spread before it’s detected,” said Dr. Lewis-Traylor.

The latest numbers outlined in a study at Seattle Children’s Hospital show a 3 per cent increase in the number of women under the age of 40 being diagnosed.

“It was a lump and it gradually got bigger and bigger, “ remembered Bethany Pomeroy of Gresham who was diagnosed at the age of 28.

Kirstie Rall of Southeast Portland faced the same diagnosis at the age of 33.

“I was terrified. It’s the fear of the unknown,” she said.

About 100 women under the age of 40 are treated each year for breast cancer at the
Legacy Cancer Institute.
“They’re often times diagnosed late and I think that happens because physicians are not expecting younger women to have cancer,” explained Lewis-Traylor.

Lewis-Traylor doesn’t think mammograms should be given routinely to women under 40, but she does encourage self-exams.

“Get to know your breasts and you’ll be able to detect changes.”

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