Women with dense breasts and a structure that is not a lobular involution – a change in breast tissue due to age – are facing a high risk of breast cancer, according to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
The study was conducted on a sample of 2666 women aged 18-85 years who had benign tumors. Patients were monitored by doctors for a period of 13 years. During this period, 172 of the volunteers (6.5%) fell ill with breast cancer.
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic in the United States have discovered that breast tissue density and lobular involution are two risk factors for breast cancer.
“Our findings also reveal that having a combination of dense breasts and no lobular involution was associated with higher breast cancer risk than having non-dense or fatty breasts and complete involution,” said the authors of the study.
“Lobular involution is the physiological atrophy of the breast epithelium (the top layer of skin cells) and is known to increase with increasing age,” the authors also say.
Breast density and lobular involution are factors that “hold promise for improving [breast cancer] risk prediction, particularly since they reflect the cumulative interplay of numerous genetic and environmental breast cancer risk factors over time,” Gretchen L. Gierach, of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and colleagues wrote in the news release.
Among other risk factors for breast cancer include age, previous medical and family cycle.