While some studies are straight and to the point – as the best ones usually are – there are others which raise more questions than answers. And it’s not that they reveal nothing or that they are poorly done, either – their results are confusing enough to raise more questions than they answer.
One such study comes from Denmark, from the University of Southern Denmark in Esjberg, to be more exact. Led by associate professor of epidemiology Zorana Andersen, the study shows that insulin treatment is related to higher breast cancer risk.
Mind you, it’s not in any way a cause-effect relationship. Insulin is in no way responsible for causing breast cancer, but it does seem to be a good indicator of whether or not a woman has higher or lower chances of developing the often fatal affliction.
And once again, it’s all related to breast density. If you recall, a few months ago a study popped up showing that dense breasted women had a higher chance of developing breast cancer as a result of mammographies. This is because dense breasts themselves are more at risk of developing the disease.
Now, dense breasts aren’t necessarily big breasts. They’re just breasts that have more breast tissue than fat tissue in their breasts. This doesn’t affect their shape or size, just their texture. And the percentage of fat versus breast tissue varies depending on multiple factors.
One of these seems to be insulin. It’s most likely that insulin doesn’t even affect the type of tissue in the breasts, but instead that the type of tissue in the breasts somehow influences the type of treatment required for diabetes.
The researchers have attempted to make several connections, but none of them seemed to stick. Whether or not you develop diabetes isn’t related to the type of breast tissue, and neither is the body mass index, age, or menopausal state.
Looking over the data of more than 5,600 women with an average age of 56, the only relationships that the scientists were able to find was that density of breasts was related to their chances of developing breast cancer and that having insulin recommended as a treatment for diabetes was an predictor of the type of prominent tissue in the women’s breasts.
They did come up with a theory however, which will have to be further investigated just like the rest of the connections found in the study – insulin being a cell growth promoter, it might also encourage the dense breast tissue to grow in favor of the fatty tissue, thus also leading to increased chances of breast cancer.
According to Andersen,
Now we would like to extend our research by following up these women for breast cancer and observing the effect of different diabetes treatments on breast cancer risk. If we find a relationship, we need to examine whether a high mammographic density is responsible or whether other factors are involved.
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