Breast cancer risk factors include age at first pregnancy

Dec 02, 2010

Having children later in life or not at all, combined with a trend in obesity may increase risk of a breast cancer that is hard to detect.

A University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health research team led by Carbone Cancer Center scientists Polly Newcomb and Amy Trentham-Dietz conducted a study of about 50,000 women born between 1912 and 1986.

The study found that a certain type of was more closely associated with women who never had children or those who waited until 30 or later to have a baby.

In addition, the scientists found that obesity could make the risk even higher. These are factors that have become increasingly more common over time.

"Our research found obese women who never had children or had children at 30 or later have a three times greater risk of developing lobular breast cancer," Newcomb said. "There already is strong evidence that obesity, a and alcohol use can be risk factors for breast cancer. Those are all risk factors that women can modify."

For women who were 30 or older when they had their first child or never had a child, there was a 2.5 percent increase in lobular breast cancer. The findings were published in Cancer, the American Cancer Society journal.

Lobular breast cancer begins in the lobules where is produced and is difficult to spot on a mammogram. Ductal breast cancer, a more common breast cancer, starts in the lining of a milk duct and is easier to detect.

While other studies have linked later childbirth to an increased chance of lobular breast cancer, Newcomb's and Trentham-Dietz's research is the largest study in the United States that finds the association and to observe its increased effect with obesity.

Newcomb said one of the key pieces of take-away information for women is that while some breast cancer risk factors may be hard to control, many lifestyle risks can be controlled including weight, exercise and alcohol use.

Many studies, including work by Newcomb and Trentham-Dietz and the Women's Health Initiative research has shown an association between postmenopausal hormone replacement and risk of lobular breast cancer.

"We believe that combined hormone replacement use in the over the past two decades has increased lobular breast cancer risk, and that nulliparity and late age at birth may share similarities with this hormone use."

The researchers said that the decline in use of hormone replacement therapy coincides with a recent decrease in U.S. lobular breast cancer rates.

The 50,000 study participants from Wisconsin, Massachusetts and New Hampshire included 29,000 who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The researchers point out that while ductal breast cancer remains the most common kind, lobular and mixed ductal-lobular breast cancer increased rapidly in the 1990s and now accounts for 20 percent of all cases.

Explore further: The fine line between breast cancer and normal tissues

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Alcohol intake increases certain types of breast cancer

Aug 23, 2010

Alcohol increases the risk of lobular and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, but not necessarily invasive ductal carcinomas, according to a study published August 23 online in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Hormone therapy raises cancer risk

Jan 16, 2008

Menopausal women who take hormone combinations for their symptoms are more likely to get an uncommon type of breast cancer much earlier than experts believed.

Recommended for you

The fine line between breast cancer and normal tissues

13 hours ago

Up to 40 percent of patients undergoing breast cancer surgery require additional operations because surgeons may fail to remove all the cancerous tissue in the initial operation. However, researchers at Brigham ...

Pancreatic cancer risk not higher with diabetes Rx DPP-4i

14 hours ago

(HealthDay)—There is no increased short-term pancreatic cancer risk with dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i) compared to sulfonylureas (SU) and thiazolidinediones (TZD) for glycemic control, according ...

Good bowel cleansing is key for high-quality colonoscopy

17 hours ago

The success of a colonoscopy is closely linked to good bowel preparation, with poor bowel prep often resulting in missed precancerous lesions, according to new consensus guidelines released by the U.S. Multi-Society Task ...

New rules for anticancer vaccines

19 hours ago

Scientists have found a way to find the proverbial needle in the cancer antigen haystack, according to a report published in The Journal of Experimental Medicine.

User comments : 0