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Study: More women diagnosed with breast cancer younger

(NEWSCHANNEL 3) - A new study finds that more women are being diagnosed with advanced breast cancer at an early age.

The study, in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that researchers discovered a small, but significant, increase in advanced breast cancer among women in their 20s and 30s.

In fact, researchers found the rate has risen each year since 1976.

Young women with breast cancer tend to have more aggressive forms of the disease than older women, and have lower survival rates.

Experts say they usually don't know something is wrong until they can actually feel a lump--a sign that the tumor is advanced.

"Women really have to pay attention to what's going on in their physical exam," said Dr. Stephanie Bernik, with Lenox Hill Hospital. "If they feel a mass, not ignore it, bring it to the doctor's attention."

230,000 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 11,000 of them are under the age of 40.

There are no routine screening practices recommended for that age group.

Researchers say more studies are needed to find out why the numbers continue to climb.