Mother-daughter breast cancer link

May 15, 2009

It was reported by the MLA University Health Network on 3 May that a unique mother-daughter study shows that the percentage of water in the breast could be linked to the risk of breast cancer in older women.

Breast density is an inheritable characteristic that is known to be a cancer risk factor and by using magnetic resonance to measure breast density in younger women the Canadian researchers at The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Hospital in Ontario. Higher blood growth hormone concentrations were also linked to higher percent breast water and results showed that each 5cm difference in height in daughters was associated with 3% increase in percent breast water, which suggests a mechanism by which growth might affect the risk of cancer. They believe this could help in developing prevention methods as breast density is a strong risk factor for breast cancer in middle aged and older women as the breast is most susceptible to the effects of carcinogens at early ages. Their findings suggest that by identifying the environmental and genetic factors that influence breast tissue composition in early life they may be able to develop safe and effective methods of prevention.


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