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Breast cancer risk varies in young women with benign breast disease, Mayo Clinic researchers say
Date:12/13/2008

SAN ANTONIO - A type of benign breast disease (BBD) known as atypical hyperplasia substantially increases a young woman's risk of developing breast cancer, even if there is no history of breast cancer in her family, say researchers at Mayo Clinic.

The investigators, who presented their findings at the Cancer Therapy & Research Center-American Association for Cancer Research (CTRC-AACR) San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, say the women they studied with this kind of benign breast disease had a relative risk of developing breast cancer that was almost six times greater than women with no evidence of the disease.

Young women diagnosed with two other forms of benign breast disease were at much less risk than patients with atypical hyperplasia, the researchers say. Those with non-proliferative disease were only slightly at increased risk (1.2 times, or .2 percent higher than normal) and women with proliferative disease without atypia had a risk that was doubled. A family history of breast cancer increased risk in these two groups of patients, but only slightly, the researchers say.

"Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women age 25 to 49, and these young patients also have worse overall survival and increased risk of cancer coming back compared to older women, so it is important that we try to understand how the cancer develops and the measures that help prevent it," says the study's lead investigator, Karthik Ghosh, M.D.

The average age of benign breast disease diagnosis in the 4,460 women included in this study was 39 years old. Within that group, 326 women eventually - sometimes decades later - developed breast cancer.

The study is the latest set of findings in Mayo Clinic's effort to precisely define a woman's risk for developing breast cancer in order to tailor screening and risk-reduction measures to the individual. With support from a $5.8 million Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Me
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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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