MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of your study?
Dr. Perry: The main findings from the study were that automated density readings outperformed radiologists, and that women under the age of 50 had a more significant risk of breast cancer from higher breast density.
Also, and quite surprising was the appearance of a completely different age- density pattern in women with breast cancer. Whereas the women in the study without cancer showed a normal and steady decline in breast density with age, those with cancer showed a completely different curvi-linear pattern, which was evident in women as young as 30.
The message is that breast density remains an important factor for both the current breast screening methodologies, and for future research into investigation and management.
MedicalResearch.com: What should patients and providers take away for this report?
Dr. Perry: Women should be made fully aware of the importance of breast density, what it means, and how it affects them as individuals. They should also be aware that the usual way of estimating density day to day is from a mammogram, and that automated systems are now being developed that will be more reliable and reproducible than the more subjective readings of even very experienced and specialist breast radiologists.
MedicalResearch.com: What future research in this area do you recommend as a result of your study?
Dr. Perry: I would like to see future research concentrate on trying to understand what biological mechanisms are at play to explain our findings in younger women with breast cancer, also establishing where it might be possible to intervene at an earlier stage to limit and reduce the adverse effects of a diagnosis of breast cancer in younger women.
Abstract Presented at 2013 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)
Younger women with breast cancer show highest risk from increased density together with abnormal density regression with age
Nicholas M Perry MD, Katja Pinker-Domenig, M.D., Kefah Mokbel, M.B.B.S., FRCS, Sue E. Milner, B.Sc., and Stephen W. Duffy, M.Sc.