City Living and Breast Cancer

October might have been Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but the research is not limited to a month. Researchers are persistent, and a new study gives city living women a reason to stay vigilant too.


New research from the UK indicates that women living in cities have much denser breast tissue than their country living counterparts. Combine this data with the previous research that indicates women with the densest breasts are considered four times as likely to develop breast cancer. There is a relationship between breast cancer and breast tissue.

There are three pieces of information to consider here:

  1. Particles commonly found in air pollution, which is more common in urban areas, often mimic hormones that can interfere with the make up of breast tissue, and create denser tissue.
  2. The more dense the breast tissue is the more difficult to detect tumors and suspicious growths with X rays. Mammograms are a specialized form of X-ray and are considered the most effective way of detecting tumors. Early stage cancer is more difficult to detect in dense breast tissue.
  3. This study was performed on women who reside in London, 972 of them, in fact. An English health survey found that women residing in London were the thinnest in the country. This is important since there is an inverse relationship between breast density and body weight: thinner women generally have less body fat and therefore denser breast tissue.

If you live in a city, take heed. Remember to perform your monthly breast exams and take cancer screening seriously. You should also read 5 Things to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer.

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