Breast cancer risk assessment and prevention must start earlier

A recent study of risk factors for breast cancer in young women suggests risk assessment and prevention, using techniques that avoid radiation, such as MRI, should start much earlier in life.

The study shows that breast tissue composition in young women could be linked to the risk of breast cancer in middle age and older. The findings are reported in an Article published Online First and in the June edition of The Lancet Oncology, written by Dr Norman Boyd, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Toronto, Canada, and Dr Mike Bronskill at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Canada,and colleagues.

The amount of dense breast tissue, which is calculated from mammograms and termed mammographic density (MD), varies considerably throughout the female population. It is a significant risk factor for breast cancer in middle-aged and older women, with risk increasing as MD increases. However, little is known about the development of MD in early life, and how MD of young women is related to their height, weight and age, and the MD of their mothers.

The research concludes: “It is known that the breast is most susceptible to the effects of carcinogens at early ages. Our findings suggest that differences in breast tissue composition in early life may be a potential mechanism for this increased susceptibility. By identifying the environmental and genetic factors that influence breast tissue composition in early life we may be able to develop safe and effective methods of prevention.”

Source: Medical News Today

You can read the research in full detail here