“Women with bigger breasts do have a higher risk of breast cancer” So reported the Daily Mail newspaper (London, England) The Mail goes on to say that this may be due to the effect of estrogen on both breast size and tumor development.
The Mail oversimplified the results of research that examined genetic factors for breast cancer and breast size done by Nicholas Eriksson, BMC Medical Genetics June 30th. Of the 7 genetic variants identified as being associated with breast size, three were also associated with an increased risk for breast cancer.
While the Daily Mail headline claims an increased risk in women with bigger breasts, the article itself is a more appropriate review of the research see abstract
We do know, however, that women with denser breasts (more glandular tissue) have an increase risk for breast cancer. Interestingly, these are often smaller breasted women, as they have little body fat. The sensational headlines in British newspapers are therefore very misleading.
Luckily, the researchers who carried out the study were keen to stress that all women comply with recommendations for screening for breast cancer. In this country that means a baseline mammogram at age 35-40 and an annual mammogram after age 40. For women with dense breast tissue and an increased risk for breast cancer, new data is emerging about also screening with breast ultrasound and or MRI. New legislation is mandating that radiologists inform patients of their breast density, as breast density can only be evaluated on a mammogram. If you are a patient at Breastnet, you are already aware of your breast density as I have always reviewed your mammogram with you.