What is breast density?
Little is known about the exact cause of many breast cancers. We do know that women who have a high level of breast density (whiteness on the mammogram), are up to six times more likely to develop the disease. This makes breast density one of the strongest predictors of whether a woman will develop breast cancer in the future.
About Blood Clotting & Breast Density
Our researchers have previously found that high-density breast tissue has more connective tissue. However, it is not yet clear why this stiffer tissue makes cancer more likely to develop.
Fibroblasts are types of cells that are critical in wound healing and are the most common cells in connective tissue. These cells also create the tissue which supports milk ducts in breasts. They are the cause of the whiteness on mammograms of women with high breast density, and also cause blood clotting.
Breast cancer resembles a non-healing wound, with increased clotting in the tissue surrounding cancer cells. Previous research funded by Prevent Breast Cancer found that there is a relationship between DCIS (ductal carcinoma-in-situ), a common precancerous condition, and blood clotting caused by fibroblasts. Following on from this, our research team are examining whether the fibroblasts in high-density breast cells create a wound-like environment which increases clotting and causes normal breasts to develop cancer and benign cases of DCIS to become invasive. This is what our researchers are looking at.
This cutting-edge project could have a phenomenal impact on breast cancer prevention methods. If fibroblasts are causing a wound-like, clotting environment, anti-clotting drugs may help women who present with high-density breast tissue at screening in order to reduce their lifetime risk of developing breast cancer. This could be life-changing for the 10% of women around the world who fall very high on the breast density scale, who are also around six times more likely to develop breast cancer.
For more information about this study please click here or download the information on the right hand side of this page.
To donate to projects such as this one, please click here and pick ‘Preventative Drugs’ from the list of drop down options.