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Women who have higher levels of several hormones may have much higher risk of receiving positive breast cancer tests, according to a new study published in the journal Breast Cancer Research.
Elevated levels of estrogen and testosterone have long been recognized as risk factors for breast cancer. However, the finding that other sex hormones may also be linked to tumor risk is a new concept. The researchers said they believe these findings could be used to identify individuals who are at the highest risk.
For the study, researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School analyzed blood samples from a group of women and tracked their health records. The results showed that participants who had higher levels of estrone, estrogen, testosterone, androstenedione, DHEA and DHEA-sulfate were all significantly more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
Each one of these hormones was independently associated with an increase cancer risk. When participants had higher levels of multiple sex hormones, their chances of developing tumors were compounded.
The researchers proposed developing tests for these hormones to assess women's breast cancer risk. This may enable doctors to offer preventative treatments.
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