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Pollution associated with higher rates of breast cancer risk factor

Living in a high pollution area may increase a woman's chance of having high breast density, which is a risk factor for breast cancer, a large study suggests.

Living in a high pollution area may increase a woman's chance of having high breast density, which is a risk factor for breast cancer, a large study suggests

Researchers from the University of Florida, US, looked at data from nearly 280,000 women in the US over the age of 40. Participants all had a mammogram at facilities taking part in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium from 2001 to 2009.

Six in 10 lived in urban areas and the rest lived in the countryside.

Researchers found women with dense breasts were 19% more likely to have been exposed to higher concentrations of fine particle matter (PM2.5)

62,000

people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every

...

Living in a high pollution area may increase a woman's chance of having high breast density, which is a risk factor for breast cancer, a large study suggests


A study carried out in the US has found a link between pollution levels and greater risk factors for breast cancer. Picture: Getty Images

Researchers from the University of Florida, US, looked at data from nearly 280,000 women in the US over the age of 40. Participants all had a mammogram at facilities taking part in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium from 2001 to 2009.

Six in 10 lived in urban areas and the rest lived in the countryside.

Researchers found women with dense breasts were 19% more likely to have been exposed to higher concentrations of fine particle matter (PM2.5)

62,000

people are diagnosed with breast cancer in the UK every year, the equivalent of one person every 10 minutes.

Source: Breast Cancer Care.

For every one unit increase in PM2.5, a woman's chance of having dense breasts was increased by 4%. Those who have high breast density are at a significantly higher risk of developing breast cancer than others.

Urban and rural

Lusine Yaghjyan, lead author from the University of Florida, said: ‘Our findings suggest that previously reported geographic variation in breast density could, in part, be explained by different air pollution patterns in urban and rural areas. Future studies are warranted to determine if the observed associations are causal, which if confirmed may have implications for risk prevention.’


Yaghjyan L et al (2017). Association between air pollution and mammographic breast density in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium. Breast Cancer Research. Doi: 10.1186/s13058-017-0828-3

 

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