World Journal of Surgery

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1427–1433 | Cite as

Breast Cancer in Young Women in a Limited-Resource Environment

  • Sarinah Basro
  • Justus P. ApffelstaedtEmail author



Despite the higher incidence of breast cancer in young women in developing countries, there is a paucity of data on their management. We present the clinicopathological features and outcome of treatment of women 35 years or younger with breast cancer in a resource-restricted environment.


A total of 141 patients who were diagnosed with primary breast cancer at 35 years or younger from January 2000 to June 2008 were retrieved from the cancer registry of a breast clinic at a tertiary hospital and a private breast health center in South Africa. Clinicopathological features, treatment, and survival were analyzed.


Two patients presented with TNM stage 0 (1.4%), 14 with stage I (9.9%), 47 with stage II (33.35%), 47 with stage III (33.3%), and 31 with stage IV (21.9%). Tumor grade was 3 in 47%, grade 2 in 37%, and grade 1 in 16% of patients. One hundred and four patients with stage 0–III disease underwent treatment with curative intent, 83 had a mastectomy, and 12 had breast-conserving surgery. Ninety patients (86.5%) had chemotherapy, 68 (65.4%) had radiotherapy, and 50 (48.1%) had hormonal therapy. Of 93 patients who completed primary therapy, 4 developed contralateral cancers, 3 had locoregional recurrence, 8 developed synchronous locoregional and distant recurrence, and 19 relapsed with distant metastasis only. The 2-year disease-free and overall survival for stage 0–III disease was 48 and 56%, respectively.


Young women with breast cancer in a resource-limited environment have similar adverse clinicopathological features to those in developed countries. Their disease is more advanced at presentation with poorer outcome. Increased awareness, better systemic therapy, and more comprehensive genetic studies are essential to improve the dismal outcome.


Breast Cancer BRCA Mutation Breast Health Private Center Ovarian Function Suppression 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Société Internationale de Chirurgie 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of StellenboschCape TownSouth Africa

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