Many women underestimate breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer, study shows

Many women underestimate breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer, study shows

Many ladies underestimate breast density as a danger issue for breast most cancers, research reveals


Dense breast tissue has been linked to an as much as 4 occasions greater danger of breast most cancers. Nonetheless, a brand new research means that few ladies think about breast density to be a major danger issue.

The research, revealed in JAMA Community Open, surveyed 1,858 ladies aged 40 to 76 from 2019 to 2020 who stated that they had not too long ago had a mammogram, had no historical past of breast most cancers and had heard of the density breast.

The ladies have been requested to check the chance of breast density to 5 different breast most cancers danger components: having a first-degree relative with breast most cancers, being obese or overweight, consuming multiple alcoholic beverage a day, by no means having youngsters and having had breast most cancers earlier than. biopsy.

“In comparison with different recognized and maybe extra well-known breast most cancers dangers, ladies didn’t understand breast density as a major danger,” stated Laura Beidler, research writer and researcher on the Dartmouth Institute for Well being Coverage and Medical Apply. .

For instance, the authors report that dense breast tissue is related to a 1.2- to four-fold elevated danger of breast most cancers in comparison with a two-fold elevated danger related to having a first-degree relative with breast most cancers. breast most cancers – however 93% of ladies stated breast density was a decrease danger.

Dense breast tissue refers to breasts which are made up of extra glandular and fibrous tissue than fatty tissue. It is a regular and customary discovering in about half of ladies having a mammogram.

The researchers additionally surveyed 61 members who stated that they had been advised about their breast density and requested them what they thought contributed to breast most cancers and the way they may scale back their danger. Whereas most ladies appropriately famous that breast density may masks tumors on mammograms, few ladies believed that breast density could possibly be a danger issue for breast most cancers.

A few third of ladies thought there was nothing they may do to scale back their danger of breast most cancers, though there are a number of methods to scale back the chance, together with sustaining a wholesome, energetic way of life and decreasing Alcohol consumption.

Breast density modifications over a lady’s lifetime and is usually greater in ladies who’re youthful, who’ve decrease physique weight, who’re pregnant or breastfeeding, or who’re on hormone alternative remedy.

The extent of breast most cancers danger will increase with the diploma of breast density; nonetheless, specialists are uncertain why that is true.

“One speculation is that girls who’ve denser breast tissue even have greater ranges of estrogen, circulating estrogen, which contributes to each breast density and the chance of growing breast most cancers,” stated breast specialist Dr. Harold Burstein. oncologist on the Dana-Farber Most cancers Institute who was not concerned within the research. “One other speculation is that there’s something within the tissue itself, making it extra dense, that in some way predisposes to the event of breast most cancers. We do not actually know which explains the ‘remark.

Thirty-eight states at the moment require ladies to obtain written notification of their breast density and its potential danger of breast most cancers after mammography; nonetheless, research have proven that many ladies discover this data complicated.

“Regardless that ladies are often notified in writing after they obtain a report after a mammogram that claims, ‘You’ve gotten elevated breast density’, it is sort of simply hidden on the backside of the report. I am unsure anybody explains to them, actually in individual or verbally, what meaning,” stated Dr. Ruth Oratz, a breast oncologist at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Most cancers Heart who was not concerned within the research.

“I feel what we have realized from this research is that we have to higher educate not solely most people of ladies, but additionally most people of well being care suppliers who do major care, who order these screenings .mammograms,” she added.

Present screening pointers advocate ladies at common danger for breast most cancers endure breast most cancers screening each one to 2 years between the ages of fifty and 74 with the choice to begin at age 40.

Since ladies with dense breast tissue are thought of to have greater than common most cancers dangers, the research authors counsel that girls with excessive breast density might profit from extra screening reminiscent of MRI breast most cancers or breast ultrasound, which may detect cancers missed throughout mammograms. Presently, protection for extra screening after the preliminary mammogram varies by state and insurance coverage coverage.

The authors warn that “extra screening might not solely result in elevated most cancers detection charges, however might also result in extra false optimistic outcomes and recall appointments.” They are saying clinicians ought to use danger evaluation instruments when discussing the trade-offs related to extra screening.

“Normally it is a dialogue between the affected person, the medical workforce and the radiologist. And that can be affected by the historical past, by whether or not there’s anything to fret about on the mammogram, by the affected person’s household historical past. So these are the sorts of issues that we incessantly focus on with sufferers who discover themselves in such conditions,” Burstein stated.

Breast most cancers screening suggestions differ from one medical group to a different, and specialists say ladies at greater danger on account of breast density ought to speak to their physician about how and the way typically to get screened. most applicable.

“I feel it is actually, actually vital for everybody to know – and it is the medical doctors, the nurses, the ladies themselves – that screening shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all suggestion. We won’t simply make a common suggestion for the entire inhabitants, as a result of particular person ladies have totally different ranges of danger for growing breast most cancers,” Oratz stated.

For practically a 3rd of ladies with dense breast tissue who stated there was nothing they may do to forestall breast most cancers, specialists say there are some steps you possibly can take to decrease your danger.

“Sustaining an energetic, wholesome way of life and decreasing alcohol consumption takes under consideration a number of modifiable components. Breastfeeding can decrease the chance. Then again, using hormone alternative remedy will increase the chance of breast most cancers,” stated Dr. Puneet Singh, a breast surgical oncologist at MD Anderson Most cancers Heart who was not concerned within the research.

The researchers add that there are licensed medicine, reminiscent of tamoxifen, which could be given to individuals at considerably elevated danger and which may scale back the chance of breast most cancers by about half.

Lastly, breast most cancers medical doctors say that along with correct screening, realizing your danger components and advocating for your self could be highly effective instruments in stopping and detecting breast most cancers.

“At any age, if a lady feels uncomfortable about one thing happening in her chest, feels discomfort, notices a change in her chest, convey it to the eye of your physician and ensure it is valued and do not let someone simply push you away,” Oratz stated.


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