Breast cancer: Women with benign cysts, lumps are at higher risk

Women who are diagnosed with benign breast disease through screening have an almost doubling risk of acquiring breast cancer, a study has revealed. Women with any benign breast disease, including fibroadenomas and cysts, were compared to women who had not been diagnosed with a breast disease. More than 7,00,000 Spanish women took part in the breast screening programme. The study was presented at the 13th European Breast Cancer Conference.

In order to ensure that individuals who develop cancer are discovered early when survival chances are at their highest, researchers believe that this group of women could benefit from more routine screening. For at least two decades, the risk of breast cancer remained higher.

In the study, 778,306 women between the ages of 50 and 69 who had at least one breast screening at one of 20 facilities in Spain between 1996 and 2015 were included. All Spanish women in this age range have mammography screenings for breast cancer every two years.

A breast cancer diagnosis was given to about 25 out of every 1,000 women who had benign breast disease, per the data. A breast cancer diagnosis was given to approximately 15 out of every 1,000 women without benign breast disease.

Women were found to be more at risk, regardless of age, and the risk lasted for at least 20 years after benign breast disease. When comparing women who were followed for 12 to 20 years to those who were followed for less than four years, breast cancer diagnoses were 99 percent more likely to occur in the latter group.

According to Dr Marta Roman from the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, instead of merely being a condition that may progress to cancer, the study contends that benign breast disease is a crucial sign that a woman has a higher risk of developing breast cancer. In reality, people frequently discover a benign condition in one breast, and then cancer appears in the other breast, she said.

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