Published on 05/07/2012
Women with larger breasts are at greater risk of breast cancer, according to research by scientists in the US.
A study published online in BMC Medical Genetics found that genetic mutations linked to breast size are also linked to the disease.
Researchers say that some of these genetic mutations are involved in regulating the hormone oestrogen, which can trigger the growth of breasts and tumours.
Scientists from genetics company 23andMe read the genetic code of 16,000 women of European descent. These women also answered questions about their bra cup size and bra band size.
After taking into account age and breast-related surgeries, as well as genetic ancestry, breast feeding status and pregnancy history, their findings showed that some of the same biological pathways underlie both normal breast growth and breast cancer.
Study leader Dr Nicholas Eriksson said: "Although the connections between these genetic factors - breast size and breast cancer aren't fully understood - our findings give clues to the function of some of these genes and regions that might be useful in combating breast cancer."
While research has previously linked breast density to an increased risk of cancer, there has been little evidence of a link with breast size before.
Scientists believe that breast cancer can actually be treated as ten different illnesses, because of its many different forms. Weight, alcohol consumption and a strong family history are all risk factors for the disease.
More research is needed into the connection before it can be considered concrete, but in the meantime all women with or without private medical insurance should go for breast cancer screenings over the age of 50.
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012Categories: Medical