Study Links Strong Bones To Increased Breast Cancer Risk

A new study links having strong bones to an elevated risk of breast cancer. At first blush, that seems to put women in a bind: tumor if you do, fracture if you don’t. The temptation to punch a wall in frustration is totally understandable.

But you certainly shouldn’t be misled by these results into believing that doing things to make your bones stronger—like lifting weights and taking calcium—will increase your breast cancer risk. The new finding doesn’t have any such sinister implication.

Sizing up breast cancer risk in women over 60 is tricky business. The standard risk model takes into account, among other things, age, race/ethnicity, and family history of breast cancer, yet it produces only a rough estimate of a woman’s risk.

The new study, published online today in the journal Cancer, found that hip bone density, which can be measured with an X-ray scan, is just as good a predictor.

What’s more, combining the density scan with the risk model could more accurately pinpoint risk for women already at heightened risk for breast cancer, like those who’ve previously had breast biopsies.

That’s a potentially important finding, but it doesn’t mean that strong bones promote breast cancer. For some women, strong bones could be a sign that they’ve got higher levels of estrogen in their bodies, which increases both bone mass and breast cancer risk.

Read more information at U.S.News