We all know how the current levels of air and environmental pollution are extremely dangerous for our lungs and detrimental for our planet in general. However, those are not the only dangers of living in a polluted surrounding. Areas of high pollution are closely linked to higher risk of contracting breast cancer for women according to a new study.
The reason behind this conclusion is that women living in areas where the air contains a high level of fine pollutant particles tend to have a higher chance of having denser breast tissue. Moreover, it has been previously found out that women with high breast density present a noticeably higher chance of developing breast cancer than women with sparse breasts.
After looking at a sample of over 250 thousand US women averaging 57 years of age, the researchers leading the study analyzed the subject’s mammograms and found that dense breasts were 19 per cent more present in women that have been exposed to high levels of particle matter (PM2.5)concentration.
Comparing different areas with different particle concentrations, they were able to calculate that every unit increase in PM2.5 correlated with a 4 per cent increase in a woman’s probability of having dense breasts.
According to Dr Lusine Yaghjyan, an Author in the University of Florida, these findings suggest a strong link between air pollution patterns in urban and rural areas and the propensity of women in those areas to having dense breasts and therefore to a higher chance being diagnosed with breast cancer.
She added that breast density is an already proven factor of breast cancer risk, meaning that future studies will have to look into the causality of these associations. If such a relationship is verified, some measures will have to be put in place to try to thwart the risk of cancer for women in polluted areas.