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Breast density tied to severity of cancer

Category: Breast

As part of breast cancer testing, doctors should examine the density of the tissue, as this may play a role in determining the type of cancer a woman develops, according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital found that women who have denser breast tissue are more likely to develop aggressive strains of tumors like estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer, suggesting that this is an important risk factor.

Tissue density has long been associated with overall cancer risk. However, the researchers said that this is among the first studies to show that it is also linked to cancer severity.

"Given that the magnitude of the association with breast density is strong across all breast cancer subtypes and particularly for estrogen receptor-negative disease, breast density should be included in risk prediction models across tumor subtypes," the researchers wrote.

They added that doctors should be made aware of the results of the investigation and be mindful of the association when they are conducting breast cancer testing.

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