Bone Density Test

October 3, 2008 6:29:12 PM PDT
October is breast cancer awareness month and one of the best weapons against the disease is prevention.At 64, two-time breast cancer survivor Ilya Sloan doesn't ask, "why me?" but she's often wondered, "How?"

Illya Sloan said, "We definitely ask these questions of ourselves. What did we do? Did we have a role in this?"

University of Arizona researchers say results of a routine bone density test could provide an important clue in predicting breast cancer risk in older, post menopausal women.

Zhao Chen, PhD, MPH Epidemiologist said, "What we're showing in the study is that bone density may be an indicator or a marker of something else which may link to breast cancer risk."

An eight-year study of 10-thousand post menopausal women looked at factors like age, race and history to estimate lifetime breast cancer risk -- and their hip-bone mineral density t-score. The finding, older women with high bone density are twice as likely to develop breast cancer.

Zhao Chen said, "High bone density is a marker of increased risk for breast cancer. We can use that piece of information to predict your breast cancer risk in the future."

For Ilya, every new breast cancer study holds the promise for earlier intervention, even prevention, and the hope that future generations won't have to go through what she did.

Illya Sloan said, "That's the hope for my daughter and my granddaughter that we will be able to prevent and if it occurs, cure this disease."

Some doctors are urging women to ask about a bone scan when they have their yearly mammograms.

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