The breast density-breast cancer connection - Harvard Health
density. High density is related to breast cancer risk factors, such as nulliparity, a positive on screening history, tumor characteristics, and treatment. Methods. One of the strongest known risk factors for breast cancer is high breast But the relationship between breast density and tumor type is less well. dependent risk factor for breast cancer, and (3) counsel patients with dense specifically by defining breast density, exploring the association between breast density and breast cancer risk . also decreases with increasing body mass index.
Radiologists adopted these categories, but classification of an individual breast depended on the opinion of the radiologist reading the mammogram.
Later, the BI-RADS system of the American Society of Radiologists continued the four-group categorization, with breasts classed as almost entirely fat, having scattered fibroglandular tissue, being heterogeneously dense, or as extremely dense. More recently, scientists have developed methods to quantify dense breast tissue by measuring the area occupied by the entire breast on a mammogram, then measuring the area appearing as dense and calculating the percentage that is dense.
Researchers have attempted to make the measurement process more objective by having computers classify and measure the dense vs.Understanding Breast Density Video - Brigham and Women's Hospital
Hormones are known to affect breast density. So far, two patients have shown a reduction in breast density. Experts agree that dense areas on mammograms make cancer detection more difficult.
Disagreement also exists over whether current or past breast density serves as the better risk predictor. Both whole-breast ultrasound and tomosynthesis can identify additional cancers in women with mammography-negative dense breasts, according to a recent adjunctive screening trial in which ultrasound identified an additional 7 and tomosynthesis an additional 3 cancers per 1, patients.
Asian women have higher breast density but a lower cancer risk; young women have higher breast density but a lower short-term risk than older women; older women with a high body mass index have low breast density but a higher breast cancer risk; and breast density declines with age, although cancer risk increases.
Lower body mass index in Asian women partly explains their higher breast density.
Breast density may mask cancer, but it is increasingly unlikely in the era of digital mammography. Cancer risk related to breast density must also take into account body mass index and age, which are related to risk. All patients, not just those with dense breasts, should be assessed for their lifetime risk of cancer and screened accordingly. Actually, most of the density can be predicted by age and body mass index, and if you are predicting this way, it [density] does not have much of an effect on the risk of an individual patient.
Breast density becoming an important predictor of breast cancer risk
In other words, the residual is the density identified on mammography minus the density that is expected. Now, a study has found that higher breast density in postmenopausal women increases the risk of specific types of breast cancer, including some that have a relatively poorer prognosis.
The bad news is that — like gender, race, family history, and genetic endowment — breast density is pretty much out of our control. The good news is that as we get older, our breasts tend to become fattier and less dense.
Breast Density Legislation: An Opportunity for Better Risk Assessment - The ASCO Post
Still, some women continue to have dense breast tissue well into their later years. Breast density The breast on the left is mostly fat, which appears gray on a mammogram; the breast on the right is mostly dense tissue, which appears white.
- The breast density-breast cancer connection
- Breast density becoming an important predictor of breast cancer risk
Tumors and other abnormalities also appear white, so they can be difficult to spot in dense tissue. Mammographic breast density is often classified using a system called BiRads, where 1 is "almost entirely fat" and 4 is "extremely dense. The study Some risk factors, such as age, body mass index after menopause, and past use of postmenopausal hormones have been linked to distinct types of breast cancer.
But the relationship between breast density and tumor type is less well understood.