The economic burden of breast cancer for women under 50 in the United States remains largely unexplored, in part because young women make up a small proportion of breast cancer cases overall. To address this knowledge gap, we conducted a web-based survey to compare data from breast cancer survivors 18–39 years of age at first diagnosis and 40–49 years of age at first diagnosis.
We administered a survey to a national convenience sample of 416 women who were 18–49 years of age at the time of their breast cancer diagnosis. We analyzed factors associated with financial decline using multivariate regression.
Survivors 18–39 years of age at first diagnosis were more likely to report Stage II–IV breast cancer (P < 0.01). They also quit their jobs more often (14.6%) than older survivors (4.4%; P < 0.01) and faced more job performance issues (55.7% and 42.8%, respectively; P = 0.02). For respondents in both groups, financial decline was more likely if the survivor had at least one comorbid condition (odds ratios: 2.36–3.21) or was diagnosed at Stage II–IV breast cancer (odds ratios: 2.04–3.51).