Breast cancer is estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer for women aged 20-39 years. Breast cancers in young women tend to have different characteristics and poorer survival outcomes compared with older women.
Although the number of young women diagnosed with breast cancer has increased over time, the incidence rate has remained fairly stable over the past three decades.
Young women face unique medical and psychosocial challenges, including premature menopause, fertility and sexuality issues and role functions that may be threatened, including partnering, caring for young children, education and career issues. Concern about these issues may contribute to younger women experiencing higher levels of psychosocial distress following diagnosis, compared with older women.