Original Research

An audit of breast cancer in patients 40 years and younger in two Johannesburg academic hospitals

Nthabiseng Chaane, Marianne Kuehnast, Grace Rubin
South African Journal of Radiology | Vol 28, No 1 | a2772 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajr.v28i1.2772 | © 2024 Nthabiseng Chaane, Marianne Kuehnast, Grace Rubin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 August 2023 | Published: 28 March 2024

About the author(s)

Nthabiseng Chaane, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Marianne Kuehnast, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Grace Rubin, Department of Radiology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females, usually diagnosed after the age of 50 years. There is a perceived increase in breast cancer cases in young women in two public sector Johannesburg academic hospitals; however, there is a shortage of data to confirm this.

Objectives: This study aimed to assess data on breast cancer in young patients and determine any increase in the number of cases in patients 40 years and younger.

Method: A retrospective analysis of radiology and histopathology reports of patients 40 years and younger, seen at the radiology departments of two Johannesburg academic hospitals, was performed over a 5-year period. The frequency, histology and immunohistochemical results of breast cancer diagnoses were determined in patients with a Breast Imaging – Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) classification of 4 or above.

Results: Breast cancer was diagnosed in 73% of the total eligible 469 patients. The mean patient age was 34.35 years. Invasive ductal carcinoma was diagnosed in 83% (n = 283) of patients classified as BI-RADS 5 on imaging. Luminal A and B subtypes were the most common. The highest number of patients (n = 142) were seen in 2016 of which 92 had breast cancer.

Conclusion: In this very specific sample set, there was a lower number of breast cancer diagnoses in 2015 and then an increase of breast cancer diagnoses in young patients from 2016 to 2018.

Contribution: Earlier breast cancer detection benefits the patient, their families and their reproductive ability. Knowledge of breast cancers in young patients can increase awareness, leading to effective, early diagnoses.


Keywords

breast cancer; age; 40 years; young cancer; Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital; Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

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