City life blamed for higher risk of breast cancer

The stresses and strains of city life could be putting women at risk of breast cancer, researchers said yesterday.

A study has found that women living in urban areas are 'significantly' more susceptible to the disease than those living in the countryside. Researchers who made the discovery suspect that city women are more likely to have stressful jobs and are more physically active.

Stress can double the chances of developing breast cancer, while being thin increases the risk of the disease in the years leading up to the menopause.

Dr Nicholas Perry, a radiologist at the Princess Grace Hospital in London, who led the study, said: "Women living in cities need to pay more attention to having regular breast screening."

Women who live in urban areas are known to have lower attendance for breast-screening programmes-than women in outlying areas.

The researchers studied the mammograms of 972 women taking part in a breast- screening programme and compared the physical make-up of their breasts with their addresses.

Breasts are made from fatty and more fibrous glandular tissue. Fatty tissue - which appears transparent in a mammogram - is relatively light while glandular tissue is dense and appears white in a breast scan.

Past studies have shown that women with more glandular breasts are up to four times as likely to develop breast cancer than women of the same age with fatty breasts.

The latest study found that women living in London had the densest breasts, particularly around the time of the menopause. The breasts of those aged 45 to 54 were twice as dense if they lived in London.

Breast density decreased in line with distance from the urban centre, becoming progressively less pronounced in suburban and rural areas.

Stephen Duffy, Cancer Research UK's professor of screening, a coauthor of the research, believes that obesity could explain the difference between urban and rural women.

Source - Daily Mail

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