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Health Agencies Update
July 18, 2001

Bone Density Predicts Breast Cancer

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JAMA. 2001;286(3):295. doi:10.1001/jama.286.3.295-JHA10006-2-1

Bone mineral density (BMD) is a powerful predictor of breast cancer risk in older women, reports a team from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Women with high density at three skeletal sites are almost three times more likely to develop breast cancer as women with low density, and their tumors tend to be at an advanced stage at diagnosis (J Natl Cancer Inst. 2001;93:930-936).

At the start of the study, which followed up 8905 women aged 65 or older for almost 7 years, researchers measured BMD at the wrist, forearm, and heel. A total of 315 developed cancer, and those with the highest BMD at the three sites had a relative risk of 2.7 compared with women with the lowest density.

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