Health Tip – Jan. 7 – Blood Test For Breast Cancer?
New research suggests that blood tests for certain hormones might indicate a woman’s risk of breast cancer, and might be predictive for up to 20 years. This interesting possibility emerged in an investigation of postmenopausal women taking part in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study.
Researchers from Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital took blood samples from the women between 1989 and 1990 and again between 2000 and 2002. None of the women involved were on hormone replacement therapy. All told, 796 women were diagnosed with breast cancer through June 2010.
Looking back at the results of the initial blood tests, the investigators found that women with the highest levels of the hormones estradiol (a type of estrogen), testosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) were between 50 and 107 percent more likely to develop breast cancer than women with the lowest levels of these hormones. The study also showed that women with the highest levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) had a breast cancer risk that was 30 percent lower than women with the lowest levels.
If these results are confirmed in future studies, the researchers noted that this advance warning could help doctors target women who could benefit from additional screening or cancer prevention strategies.