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Early Breast Cancer No More Likely to Return in Young Women
Date:9/24/2008

Findings debunk theory that DCIS recurrence varies with age

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Young women diagnosed with a common form of early-stage breast cancer called ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) are no more likely to have recurrences than older women with the disease, a new study finds.

The presumption has been that women aged 40 and younger, when diagnosed with DCIS, were more likely to have it recur, noted Dr. Aruna Turaka, a fellow in the department of radiation oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia. But her new study -- which she is due to present Wednesday at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting in Boston -- found otherwise.

According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, DCIS is a noninvasive condition in which abnormal cells are found in the lining of a breast duct; the abnormal cells have not spilled out from the duct to other breast tissues, however. About 62,000 cases of in situ cancer are diagnosed each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

In the new study, "We looked into our institutional database at Fox Chase from 1978 to 2007," Turaka explained. All of the DCIS patients were treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation.

The researchers examined the records of 440 patients with DCIS; 24 were 40 or younger; the rest were aged 41 and older. The team then looked at follow-up records from 10 and 15 years after treatment.

"The overall recurrence over 10 years was 7 percent, and at 15 years, 8 percent," she said. Ranked by age, Turaka found that at the 15-year follow-up, 10 percent of women 40 and under had a cancer recurrence, while 7 percent of those aged 41-54 did, 11 percent of those aged 55-69 did, and 4 percent of those aged 70 and above did.

"It shows there is a trend toward increased recurrence in younger versus older, but it is not statistically significant," Turaka said.

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