Death rates from breast cancer are rising for American women younger than 40 after two decades of declining figures, according to a recent report.

United Press International news agency said that researchers hope to attract attention to the change.

“Our hope is that these findings focus more attention and research on breast cancer in younger women and what is behind this rapid increase in late-stage cancers,” said lead study author R. Edward Hendrick, who is a clinical professor of radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

While death rates fell 1.2% – 2.2% for 40 – 79-year-old women between 2010 and 2017, a 0.5% per year increase for women between 20 and 39 was detected, said the study which “was not considered statistically significant.”

Calling it “nonetheless, worrisome,” Hendrick said he expects a “significant increase” in breast cancer death rates for young women in the next two to three years.

According to the study, cancers that have spread beyond the breast, called distant-spread breast cancer, have caused an increase in the death rate.

The rates of distant-spread breast cancer rose more than 4% per year in 20 to 39-year-old women since 2000 — much higher than for women older than 40.

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