City-dwelling women at greater risk for breast cancer

Nov 26, 2007

Women who live in urban areas have denser breasts, making them more likely to develop breast cancer, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

“Women living in cities need to pay more attention to having regular breast screening,” said Nicholas M. Perry, M.B.B.S., F.R.C.S., F.R.C.R., director of The London Breast Institute at The Princess Grace Hospital in London, U.K. “Currently, women who live in urban areas are known to have lower attendance for breast screening programs than women in outlying areas.”

Breast tissue in women may be fatty or glandular or a mixture of both. Women with more glandular breasts show denser tissue on a mammogram and are known to have nearly four times the risk of developing breast cancer than women with fatty breasts. Dr. Perry and colleagues set out to determine if there was a relationship between breast density and area of residence.

The researchers analyzed digital mammograms of 972 women from urban, suburban and rural areas. They discovered that women who lived in London had significantly denser breasts than those living outside the city. The risk of increased density was twice as great in the 45- to 54-year-old group. Age-specific analyses suggested that overall differences by area were more pronounced in women under age 50.

Dr. Perry cautioned that more research is needed to determine the precise reason for this phenomenon, taking into account lifestyle factors, stress, workplace and other possible contributors, but he advised that all women maintain a recommended breast screening regimen, and that women with dense breasts be screened with digital mammography, which is more effective at detecting cancer in dense breast tissue.

“Regular breast screening with mammography saves lives,” Dr. Perry said. “Access to breast screening for women living in cities must be prioritized.”

Co-authors are P.C. Allgood, Ph.D., S.W. Duffy, M.D., S.E. Milner, B.Sc., and K. Mokbel, M.D.

Another study presented on Monday (Nov. 26) at RSNA 2007 looked at the influence of the Western lifestyle on breast composition. Miriam Sklair-Levy, M.D., and colleagues from Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem compared breast densities of Israeli women and Ethiopian women who immigrated to Israel. The study found that Ethiopian-born women who have immigrated to Israel had significantly lower breast density than did Israeli-born women. In addition, past Ethiopian immigrants who had begun to adopt a Western lifestyle (decreased number of children, change in diet or increased hormone use) had significantly higher breast density than recent immigrants.

Source: Radiological Society of North America

Explore further: Study finds new potential melanoma drug target

Related Stories

Report details benefits of investment in basic research

14 hours ago

Last year was a notable one for scientific achievements: In 2014, European researchers discovered a fundamental new particle that sheds light on the origins of the universe, and the European Space Agency ...

Device extracts rare tumor cells using sound

Apr 06, 2015

A simple blood test may one day replace invasive biopsies thanks to a new device that uses sound waves to separate blood-borne cancer cells from white blood cells.

Live-streaming apps dominate buzz at South by Southwest

Mar 15, 2015

A live-streaming app called Meerkat, calls to online activism and pedicabs with a "Game of Thrones" Iron throne seat were the top topics of conversation at South by Southwest over the weekend, as 33,000-plus ...

Potential new breathalyzer for lung cancer screening

Feb 18, 2015

Researchers from Chongqing University in China have developed a high sensitive fluorescence-based sensor device that can rapidly identify cancer related volatile organic compounds—biomarkers found exclusively in the exhaled ...

Recommended for you

Study finds new potential melanoma drug target

May 02, 2015

A new treatment for melanoma could be on the horizon, thanks to a finding by a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center-led team. In the study, which was published online today in the journal Clinical Ca ...

Surgery for terminal cancer patients still common

May 02, 2015

The number of surgeries performed on terminally ill cancer patients has not dropped in recent years, despite more attention to the importance of less invasive care for these patients to relieve symptoms and ...

Study provides comprehensive look at brain cancer treatments

May 01, 2015

Led by the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and UC San Francisco (UCSF), a comprehensive genetic review of treatment strategies for glioblastoma brain tumors was published today in the Oxford University Press ...

How artificial tanning can lead to melanoma

May 01, 2015

Young women may be up on the latest fashions and trends as they prepare for prom season. But what many don't know is that the tan that looks oh-so-good with their dress may be the first step toward skin cancer.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.