As Albert Einstein once said about balance, "Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving." The same is true of bone mineral density in testing for breast cancer—balance is better.
The September 2008 issue of “CANCER” journal of the American Cancer Society published findings that higher bone density hints at higher frequency of breast cancer in premenopausal women, meaning normal or even lower bone mass points to a lower breast cancer rate.
Bone mineral density tests are routine procedure in tracing osteoporosis. Experts at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health used the bone test to look for evidence supporting claims that there is a higher breast cancer rate in women who show higher bone mineral density.
The investigation into the relationship between bone density and cancer risk, led by Dr. Zhao Chen applied their studies to 10,000 premenopausal women in 40 clinical centers throughout the U.S.
Researchers recorded the initial bone density in the women averaging 63 years in age. In addition, they were scored on the Gail Risk Model, which estimates the possibility of breast cancer in women 35 years and older.
The women studied were tracked for an average of eight years wherein researchers charted developments of breast cancer. After the allotted time, the Gail score was compared with percent unit increase in total hip bone mineral density in the tested.
Results proved women with a higher Gail score had a 35 percent increased breast cancer risk and women with higher hip bone density were at a 25 percent higher risk factor. If the two scores are combined, women who are high in both areas will be even more aware of their breast cancer status.
The findings also mean that bone density testing can be an alternative to the Gail scores. In the published article experts encapsulate on the future of bone mineral density testing and prediction of breast cancer.
“Future studies should investigate whether incorporating bone mineral density and Gail score with other risk factors, such as breast density, can further improve the identification of women at high risk for developing breast cancer,” researchers agreed.
Testing for bone density is ordinarily conducted to locate signs of osteoporosis. In cases of low bone density there is a higher rate of bone fractures due to the debilitating bone disease. In most cases women age 65 and older are urged to get bone mineral density testing on a regular basis.