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Breast cancer is rare in young women aged 30 and below. Out of a total of 374 patients admitted and managed for breast cancer in a period of 12 years, 14 (3.74%) were aged 30 and below (mean 26.31 years); Their parity ranged between 0 and 4 (mean 1.5) and the duration of symptoms before presentation ranged between 3 weeks and 3 years. 6 cases involved the right breast, 4 the left and 3 were bilateral. All the patients presented with advanced breast cancer (stage 4 disease). Ten had invasive ductal Ca while one each had lobular carcinoma, lymphoma and malignant phyllodes tumour respectively.
Management was multimodal: neovadjuvant chemotherapy, tamoxifen, mastectomy and referral for radiotherapy. Two developed features of depressive illness in the course of treatment; 6 died within 6 months of presentation, 1 after 3 months, 1 refused mastectomy discharged herself against in favour of traditional healers. The remaining 6 were lost to follow-up.
It is confirmed that as else where, in Nigerians breast cancer in younger women is associated with a high degree of morbidity and mortality as well as physical and emotional stress.
Keywords: Young women, breast cancer, Nigeria.
Nigerian Journal of Surgical Sciences Vol. 17 (2) 2007: pp. 86-90