Nightly News   |  February 26, 2013

In young women, an ‘alarming’ incidence of breast cancer

The number of young women ages 25 to 39 who were diagnosed with aggressive metastatic breast cancer rose over the past three decades according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The increase is small, researchers say, but raises important questions.  NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.

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>>> we mentioned this earlier. there are some alarming headlines out tonight about breast cancer in younger women. a new analysis shows advanced breast cancer cases are up among women ages 25 to 39. our chief medical editor, dr. nancy snyderman , is in our new york studios with more on this tonight.

>> good evening, brian. a key thing to remember is that breast cancer is rare in young women , although it's aggressive, and the united states has made progress in the war against cancer. this is the first major study to show a slight but significant increase in breast cancer in young women , particularly the aggressive met static breast cancer , which has, by definition, already spread to other organs in the body. published today in the journal of the american medical association , researchers found the increase in women 25 to 39 years of age. and it's alarming because we don't know exactly why this is happening. it could be rising obesity rates, early menstrual periods, even environmental factors that we don't have pinned down. scientist raze still unsure. but it is not a reason to rush out and get a mammogram if you are a young woman . for most women, you should start getting mammograms around the age of 50. and in the meantime, you can keep up with your self-examinations, watch your weight, stop smoking, and of course, if you find anything that strays from the norm, that's when you check in with your doctor. brian?

>> nancy snyderman back at home base in new york tonight with today's medical story. nancy, thanks.