(HealthDay News) — Black women are more likely than white women to have dense breasts, potentially boosting their breast cancer risk, according to new research. The findings were to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research, held from April 18 to 22 in Philadelphia.
“Since breast density is associated with breast cancer risk, a better understanding of racial differences in breast density levels could help us identify women at the highest risk for breast cancer and target prevention strategies to those women,” study author Anne Marie McCarthy, Ph.D., said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research. McCarthy is a research fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
The study included 1,589 black women and 1,256 white women who were screened using mammography from 2010 to 2011 at the University of Pennsylvania. For this study, researchers said they used a better technique to measure breast density than that traditionally used by radiologists. The researchers used fully automated computer algorithms to produce both the conventional two-dimensional breast density measurement and a three-dimensional volumetric estimate of breast density.
In terms of both volume and area, black women had denser breasts than white women, even after researchers adjusted their statistics for factors such as high or low numbers of women of certain ages or weights.