Breast Cancer Rising in Younger Women

Posted on September 26, 2023

PORTLAND, Ore. (Sept. 26, 2023): October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a perfect time to remind people about the importance of regular cancer screenings. A study published this month in the Journal of American Medical Association showed that more people under 50 are getting cancer. Breast cancer saw one of the highest increases in the number of early-onset cases from 2010 to 2019. That number increased by nearly 8 percent. Additionally, the number of people coming in for breast cancer screenings is still below pre-pandemic rates.

Kaiser Permanente physicians want to warn that missing regular breast cancer screenings can lead to worse health outcomes, and that when breast cancer is caught in its earliest, localized stages, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. Every woman between ages 40 and 75 is encouraged to catch up on this important preventive care.

“The earlier breast cancer is found, the more easily and successfully it can be treated,” said Dr. Eric Chang, MD, a radiation oncologist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest. “As a result of regular self-examinations and mammograms, breast cancer is being detected earlier, but mammogram screening rates are not back to their pre-pandemic numbers.”

Breast cancer will affect one in eight women, according to the CDC, which says that breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Mammograms have worked wonders for early detection of this cancer, and treatments have made great strides. Death rates in women over age 50 have fallen, according to the American Cancer Society, although the CDC says that African American women are still more likely to die from it.

As a national leader in the percentage of members receiving breast cancer screening, Kaiser Permanente breast cancer patients have a lower mortality rate compared to national benchmarks and we encourage spreading the word this October that screenings can save lives.

Breast Cancer Fast Facts:

  • One in eight women in the United States (about 13%) will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
  • Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. In 2023, an estimated 297,790 women and 2,800 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.
  • When breast cancer is caught in its earliest, localized stages, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%.
  • An estimated 0.25% of the general population carries a mutated BRCA gene, or about one out of every 400 people. Women who have these inherited changes are at higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer. One in 40 Ashkenazi Jewish women has a BRCA gene mutation.
  • Black women are 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.


Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 12.7 million members in 8 states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists, and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery, and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education, and the support of community health. For more information, please visit:

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