UCSF study: ‘Dense breasts’ exceed all other breast cancer risk factors

"A new UC San Francisco-led study shows that women with “dense breasts” are at increased risk for breast cancer compared with women with a family history of the disease, their own history of benign lesions, or a first full-term pregnancy over age 30.

The findings were published Thursday in the journal JAMA Oncology.

Led by Natalie Engmann, a Ph.D. candidate in UCSF’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Dr. Karla Kerlikowske, the researchers believe their work is the first large-scale study to measure the development of breast cancer according to the degree of breast density.

About 40 percent of women in the U.S. over age 40 have dense breast tissue, which makes it harder to identify cancer cells on a mammogram. That’s because the breast tissue appears dense on a mammogram compared with fat, which appears nondense."

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(Photo: Torin Halsey/Times Record News via AP)

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