Doctors doubt study on breast size, cancer link

Doctors doubt study on breast size, cancer link

Research based in Europe not enough

Doctors in Delhi have raised doubts on a study published in London-based BMC Medical Genetics which claims breast size is linked with breast cancer. The study says women with bigger breasts are at higher risk of cancer.

“This is not a verified conclusion. While breast density is known to be a risk factor for breast cancer, the evidence to prove the effect of breast size is still insufficient,” said Dr Shyam Aggarwal, medical oncologist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

The study, conducted by 23andMe, a genetics company, analysed bra cup size of 16,175 females of European ancestory and came to the said conclusion.

“In my knowledge, there is no medical study or research with similar conclusions.
Moreover, this is only Europe’s data. We will have to conduct similar exercise in other countries to come to a definitive conclusion,” said Dr Aggarwal.

Breast cancer is a leading cancer among women accounting for one-third of all cancers. It is the most common in Delhi with 31.4 per cent women suffering from it.

As per the prediction by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India will have 1,23,634 cases of breast cancer by 2020. Incidence of breast cancer in urban areas is three times higher than in rural parts. According to ICMR data, in 2008, 53,592 breast cancer deaths were reported.

Increasingly, age group affected by breast cancer is becoming younger in India. Forty-eight per cent of incidences are in between 25-50 years of age.

Also, unlike Western countries, where over 75 per cent of cases are diagnosed at early stage, in India over 50 per cent is in stage three and four. As a result survival rate is less than 60 per cent compared to 89 per 100 in the United States.

Higher level of hormone oestrogen is primarily responsible for occurrence of breast cancer. “We will have to see if there is link between breast size and rising oestrogen.

Only after that the study will be authenticated,” said a doctor from Deen Dayal Upadhyay
Hospital.

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