Patients with Dense Breasts Twice as Likely to Develop Cancer in Second Breast

Patients with Dense Breasts Twice as Likely to Develop Cancer in Second Breast
Breast cancer patients with dense breasts are twice as likely to develop cancer in the other breast, according to research from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The study, "Mammographic breast density is associated with the development of contralateral breast cancer," is one of the first to describe the association between breast density and risk of cancer in the non-cancerous breast. It was published in the journal Cancer. Understanding patients' risk of developing cancer in their other breast -- or contralateral breast cancer -- is critical to their making informed decisions about their treatment. Women at high risk should consider bilateral mastectomy, or removal of both breasts. Isabelle Bedrosian, MD, said the 10-year risk for contralateral breast cancer is as low as 2 percent in certain patients, but is as high as 40 percent in other patient subsets. The wide range depends on the risk factors affecting each patient, she explained. "We know there are a number of well-established influences for developing both primary and secondary breast cancers, such as BRCA mutations, family history, and the tumor's estrogen receptor status," Bedrosian, an associate professor of breast surgical oncology at the Anderson center, said in a news release. "We also know density is a risk factor for the development of primary breast cancer. However, no one has closely looked at it as a risk factor for developing contralateral disease." The team conducted a retrospectiv
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