BACKGROUND Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in developed countries, and 12% of breast cancer occurs in women 20–34 years. Survival from breast cancer has significantly improved, and the potential late effects of treatment and the impact on quality of life have become increasingly important. Young women constitute a minority of breast cancer patients, but commonly have distinct concerns and issues compared with older women, including queries regarding fertility, contraception and pregnancy. Further, they are more likely than older women to have questions regarding potential side effects of therapy and risk of relapse or a new primary. In addition, many will have symptoms associated with treatment and they present a management challenge. Reproductive medicine specialists and gynaecologists commonly see these women either shortly after initial diagnosis or following adjuvant therapy and should be aware of current management of breast cancer, the options for women at increased genetic risk, the prognosis of patients with early stage breast cancer and how adjuvant systemic treatments may impact reproductive function.