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Women who live in areas with high air pollution may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer, research suggests.
A major study of nearly 280,000 women concluded exposure to sooty particles had an increased chance of having dense breast tissue.
Breast - Density - Risk - Factors - Breast
Breast density is known to be one of the strongest risk factors of breast cancer, with women who have highly dense breasts up to six times as likely to develop the disease.
The new study, led by experts at the University of Florida, reveals a strong correlation between air pollution and breast density for the first time.
Link - Breast - Risk - Air - Particles
It highlights a specific link between breast risk and the fine air particles that are particularly a problem in the emissions of diesel cars.
Medical experts are increasingly aware of the impact of diesel air pollution fumes on human health, including the risk of asthma, heart disease and dementia, but this is the first time such a strong link has been made to breast cancer.
Fumes - Toxins - Air - Deaths - People
Fumes and toxins in polluted air are already estimated to contribute to the deaths of 40,000 people in Britain every year - but the new evidence suggests they may also be linked to some of the 11,400 breast cancer deaths recorded annually.
The UK is notoriously bad at controlling air pollution, with 37 cities across Britain persistently breaching legal limits of air toxins.
Researchers - Work - Journal - Breast - Cancer
The researchers, whose work is published in the journal Breast Cancer Research, examined mammogram scans from 279,967 women in the US.
They found that women with high breast density were 19 per cent more likely to live in areas with high levels of fine particle pollution.
Unit - Increase - Particles - PM2 - Woman
For every one unit increase in the particles - known as PM2.5 - a woman's chance of having dense breasts went up 4 per cent.
Study leader Dr Lusine Yaghjyan said: 'Our findings suggest that previously reported geographic variation...
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