Sunday, December 2, 2007

Beauty : City Woman & Breasts Cancer

Women living and working in the city have a higher risk of breast cancer, researchers say.

The study of 972 women by London's private Princess Grace Hospital found city women had much denser breasts.

Previous research has shown those with the densest breast were four times more likely to develop cancer.

Researchers, presenting the study to the Radiological Society of North America, said air pollution was likely to be the cause of denser breasts.

It is thought air pollution contains tiny particles that mimic female sex hormones and can disrupt the make up of breasts.

Professor Kefah Mokbel, one of the researchers, said: "Women who live or work in cities should pay greater attention to breast screening. Ironically, uptake of breast screening is lower cities like London than in the countryside.

"The other implication is that we have to focus on better traffic management and find ways to reduce traffic emissions.

"This is an important issue for the public and politicians, and it's vital that we raise awareness of the link we have found."

Breasts are partly composed of fat and partly "dense" glandular tissue.

Previous research has shown that women with 25% or more of their breasts made up of dense tissue are at significantly higher risk of breast cancer than those with fattier breasts.

One reason is that tumours in dense tissue are difficult to spot using X-rays.

There is also evidence that cancers are more likely to develop in dense breasts.


The new research, which analysed mammograms of women who had taken part in breast screening, showed that city women aged 45 to 54 were more than twice as likely to have at least 25% of their breasts made of dense tissue as those from the countryside.

Generally the trend was most obvious in women under the age of 50 and those working in London's Square Mile.

Researchers also warned the stress of city life could also be putting them at increased risk.

But Professor Stephen Duffy, Cancer Research UK's professor of screening, said the findings may be related to weight.

"The Health Survey for England found that women living in London were the thinnest in the country, and breast density is known to be inversely related to body weight."

But he added whatever the reasons, the study did demonstrate the need for careful attention to breast screening as "greater breast density makes mammography a more challenging job".

Beauty : City Woman & Breasts Cancer

City Women More Likely to Develop Breast Cancer

by Anna Boyd

Women living or working in urban areas are more predisposed to developing breast cancer than women who live in the suburbs, a recent study suggested.
Previous studies have indicated that women with dense breast tissue are four times more likely to develop cancer than those with mostly fatty breasts.

The researchers at the London Breast Institute at the private Princess Grace Hospital studied digital mammograms from 972 women with ages between 29 and 87, living or working in rural, suburban and urban areas. About 225 women were from rural area, 135 lived in suburbs and 257 women either lived or worked in an urban area.

The study compared women from Greece with suburban and urban women in the United Kingdom . The result was that women living or working in the city were 54 percent more likely to have dense breasts than their rural peers were.

"Our study suggests that the closer to urban and high population densities that a woman resides, and in particular works, the greater likelihood there is that she will have denser breasts. For every 1 percent increase in breast density, there is said to be a 2 percent increase in the relative risk of developing breast cancer," said study author Dr. Nicholas Perry, director of the London Breast Institute at the Princess Grace Hospital .

Researchers suggested that exposure to pollution could be an important factor leading to cancer breast:

"We have significant evidence that traffic emissions can cause estrogen-like activity on the breast, particularly a city like London with a lot of fog all year. These particles don't rise high among the atmosphere. We inhale these particles and when we inhale they enter the lungs and the bloodstream,” Professor Kefah. Mokbel, a consultant breast surgeon in London and member of the team told CTV News.

Other health experts said pollution is not the main factor in developing breast cancer. They suggested that urban women are slimmer and so they have less fatty tissue and this is a cause for developing the disease.

Specialists say that dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to detect a tumor and women who live in the cities are already known to be less likely to attend regular screening.

Dr. Nicholas M. Perry advised urban women to be more vigilant about their breast cancer screening:

"Women living in cities need to pay more attention to having regular breast screening. Currently, women who live in urban areas are known to have lower attendance for breast screening programs than women in outlying areas,” he said.

Family history, getting your first period before the age of 12, beginning menopause after age 55, not having children or having your first child after 30, being overweight, drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day, and living a sedentary lifestyle are known to be risk factors in developing breast cancer.

According to the American Cancer Society, 180,000 American women are diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and about 40,500 die from this disease each year. About one in eight women are likely to develop breast cancer over a lifetime.

The findings were presented on Monday at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago .