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Breast Density and the Risk of Cancer

New Canadian research is probing the link between breast density and its implication on the risks of breast cancer. //

A novel study on 1,112 women has brought to the fore, the key challenges involved in preventing breast cancer in women with dense breasts. The study revealed that, those with dense breasts were five times more likely to be afflicted with breast cancer, compared to women with fatty tissue in the breasts.

Dense breasts are not easily detectable in mammograms, because they appear light, just like tumors. On the contrary fat tissue appears dark. "Our hypothesis is that greater number of cells poses a larger target to chemicals that might cause genetic damage to give rise to cancer in the future," said the study's lead author, Dr. Norman Boyd of the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto.

Breast density is genetic, though HRT is known to elevate breast density. It is here that the drug tamoxifen can help in reducing breast density. "Now we can also incorporate a woman's breast density to help inform the decision as to whether or not one should take tamoxifen," said Dr. John Mackey of the Alberta Cancer Board in Edmonton.

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