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Benign Breast Diseases and Body Mass Index: Is There a Correlation?

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Breast cancer is the leading cancer affecting women in America. Body mass index (BMI) is a known risk factor for the development of breast cancer. The relationship of BMI to benign breast disease is less clear. In addition, certain benign pathologies are associated with an increased risk of cancer. We sought to measure the incidence of benign pathologies and to correlate these findings with BMI and age. All patients undergoing breast biopsy at our center from 2000 to 2005 were identified (n = 1717). Age, BMI, family history, sex, and diagnosis were determined. Patients were grouped into BMI, age, and intervention groups. χ2 (P < 0.05) was used to identify statistical significance. Fibrocystic disease and fibroadenoma were seen with a lower incidence for patients older than 55 years of age, whereas pathologies requiring further surgical intervention were seen in higher proportions in patients older than 55 years of age. All pathologies were noted to decrease with increasing BMI, except for fibroadenoma, which peaked in BMI group 25 to 29.9 kg/m2. The presence of benign pathologies was associated with age as expected. Interestingly, although BMI is associated with increased risk of breast cancer, increasing BMI was not associated with benign pathologies that are associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Further study of this area is warranted.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2014

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  • The Southeastern Surgical Congress owns and publishes The American Surgeon monthly. It is the official journal of the Congress and the Southern California Chapter of the American College of Surgeons, which all members receive each month. The journal brings up to date clinical advances in surgical knowledge in a popular reference format. In addition to publishing papers presented at the annual meetings of the associated organizations, the journal publishes selected unsolicited manuscripts. If you have a manuscript you'd like to see published in The American Surgeon select "Information for Authors" from the Related Information options below. A Copyright Release Form must accompany all manuscripts submitted.
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