Saturday, March 14, 2015

Very low breast density linked with lower survival in women with breast cancer

CANCER DIGEST – March 13, 2015 – Women with breast cancer whose breasts have very low density have a higher risk of dying from the disease than women with high breast density, a new Finnish study shows.

Dense breast tissue has long been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, and it is difficult to detect small tumors when screening dense breasts. This results in a higher occurrence of clinically detectable cancers. Breast density is matter of the amount of glandular tissue present compared to fat tissue.

Researchers at the University of Eastern Finland analyzed imaging and outcomes of 270 women between the ages of 32 and 86 treated for breast cancer at Kuopio University Hospital. They categorized patients into groups by breast density from very low to high, those with glandular tissue below 25 percent were considered to have low breast density and those whose glandular tissue was below 10 percent was categorized as very low breast density.

After six years of following the women’s progress, they found that 70.7 percent of the women with very low density remained alive compared to 87.7 percent of the women whose breast density was higher than 10 percent. The lower breast density was also associated with more aggressive, higher-grade tumors.

The study was published March 4 online ahead of print in the journal European Radiology.

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