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Dense Breast Tissue Poses Higher Breast Cancer Risk for Younger Women

First Posted: Dec 05, 2013 11:03 AM EST
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A recent study shows that younger women with denser breast tissue may be at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.

According to lead study author Nicholas Perry, MBBS, of the London Breast Institute in England, and colleagues, they reported at the Radiological Society of North America that the breast density in patients with breast cancer was higher than in a healthy control group of women through the age of 50. However, they found that the relationship lost consistency as participants aged.

Perry notes that breast density compared to women with normal breasts to those who get cancer appears to be more obvious for younger women. He also notes though it can be difficult to tell, it's "not the first time someone has shown that younger women are more vulnerable" to the risks of breast density, which is commonly accepted to be an independent predictor of breast cancer.

For the study, researchers looked at digital mammograms from 317 women who had breast cancer and compared them with mammograms of 317 healthy controls.

Findings showed that a total of 282 of the pairs also had fully automated breast density readings that involved an algorithm that differentiated dense tissue from fat and calculated the percentage of dense breast tissue.

Over the entire course of the study, healthy controls had a significant decline in density with age that followed a linear pattern. Thus, the risk seems to decline with age, according to Perry.  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer for women, no matter race or ethnicity. It'as also the most common cause of death among Hispanic women and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaskan Native women.

Regular screenings and checkups can help keep people healthy and possibly prevent the issue from occurring, according to health officials. Make sure you stay on top of your health. It might just save your life!

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