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Change in breast density over time provides clues about breast cancer risk
Date:4/20/2010

who had at least one additional screening mammogram prior to enrollment, and then looked at clinic and tumor registries in the three Midwestern states to determine if any of these women developed breast cancer after enrolling in the study.

Measures of mammographic density were obtained from the two mammograms, an average of six years apart, for the approximately 1,900 women randomly sampled from the cohort, and from all 219 individuals who were diagnosed with breast cancer during follow-up. In the cancer-free group, 38.6 percent of women had a decrease in breast density, 50.4 percent stayed the same, and 11 percent showed an increase in breast density. In women who developed breast cancer, the percentages were 37, 51 and 12, respectively.

Women who developed breast cancer were less likely to experience a decrease in density in a second mammogram, says Dr. Vachon. After adjusting for other potential factors that contribute to breast cancer development, such as age, body mass index, postmenopausal hormones, postmenopausal status, in addition to baseline breast density, the researchers found that women who decreased one BI-RADS category or more over an average of six years were at 28 percent reduced risk of developing breast cancer, compared to women whose density was unchanged.

"We know that breast density can change with time, as evidenced by decreases seen with women going through menopause or using the breast cancer preventive drug tamoxifen and increases seen with postmenopausal hormone therapy use. Our results suggest that decreases in density may translate to decreased breast cancer risk," Dr. Vachon says.


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Contact: Karl Oestreich
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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