Science

Women with Thick Breasts Are More Prone To Having Breast Cancer

By Charles Omedo , Feb 10, 2017 11:45 PM EST
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While women can do little or nothing about the size, shape or thickness of their breasts, a new study published by researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, and published in the journal JAMA Oncology suggests that women with dense breast tissues are at higher risks of developing breast cancer.

Women's breasts are composed entirely of fat and glandular tissues, but it has now emerged that those with less fat and more tissues could be prone to breast cancer risks - even in the absence of other known risk factors such as family history, having babies after age 30, and genetic mutations among others.

Dr. Natalie Engmann, leader of the study, stated that women with dense breast tissues are at double risks of developing breast cancer than women with fat in their breasts, Medscape reports. Where the problem lies however is that 60% of younger women have thicker breast tissues, including 40% of post-menopausal older women; but then, mammograms do not easily detect cancer tumors in dense breast tissues.

It must however be pointed out that not every woman with thicker or dense breast tissues will develop breast cancer, but research has shown that many women have dense breasts with several of them turning out to be breast cancer victims. It is therefore epidemiologically beneficial to possess breasts with fats than those with thick glandular tissues.

Four categories of breast density

The researchers in the course of several studies examined 18,000 women with various stages of breast cancers and 184,000 of the same age but without any indictors of breast cancer. They ultimately identified four categories of breast density and these include those made up entirely of fat, those with more fat than tissue, those with thicker tissue than fat, and those composed entirely of dense tissue.

After identifying these four types of breast denseness, the researchers further tallied this information against risk factors associated with breast cancer - such as family history in the patient, weight of the patient, noted breast density, pregnancy before or after the age of 30, breastfeeding a baby, and results of benign biopsies among others.

Gaining weight can add more fat to breasts than tissue

While obesity and being overweight have been linked to breast cancer, the authors of the study established that a woman can dramatically reduce her breast density and add more fat to them by simply gaining weight. Incidentally, they also add that 23% of obese and overweight women can cut down on the risks of breast cancer by shedding weight.

One thing this study has failed to address is the role genetic mutations play in increasing the risks of breast cancer in women as individuals, and not as a whole under a given research study. This is important because the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has made it clear that between 5-10% of breast cancer diagnosed in the US are linked to inherited gene mutations.

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