Incidence and characteristics of breast cancer in patients 40 years of age or younger: a study of a tertiary center in Saudi Arabia


  • Sahar M. Alnefaie Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, Taif University, Al-Taif, Saudi Arabia
  • Nisreen R. Kanbar Saudi German Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Reem A. Alshoura Department of Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital-RC, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Amal Y. Alhefdhi Department of Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital-RC, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Saif S. Alsobhi Department of Surgery, King Faisal Specialist Hospital-RC, Alfaisal University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



Breast cancer, Young women, Characteristics, Type of surgery, Recurrence


Background: Breast cancer in young women has a higher mortality rate, can show adverse outcomes, and is more likely to recur after treatment. This study evaluated the incidence and characteristics of breast cancer in female patients 40 years of age or younger.

Methods: This is a descriptive study of 234 patients, 40 years of age or younger, diagnosed with breast cancer in the period January 2010–December 2015.

Results: We included 234 out of 1026 patients (22%) that met our inclusion criteria. At the time of the diagnosis, the mean age of the patients was 34±5 years; 32 (14%) of them had a positive family history of breast cancer, and more than a fifth were found to have advanced stages of the disease. One-third of our patients were hormone receptor (HR)-positive with HER2 negative, 61 (26%) were triple negative, and a total of 98 (42%) of our patients had HER2 overexpression. Lumpectomy was performed for 89 (38%) of them. Recurrence was documented for 40 (17.4%), and approximately half of the patients, 105 (45%), had recurrence in their first two years of diagnosis.

Conclusions: Breast cancer in young patients is a very challenging entity, as they tend to be more aggressive than the older age group. The incidence of breast cancer in female patients younger than 40 is higher than that in Western countries. However, our findings align with regards to their pathology type and hormonal status.


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