Health Day - Breast-milk analysis may someday offer an alternative to mammograms for women in their childbearing years, new research suggests. Because mammography isn't well-suited to the dense breasts of younger women, scientists have begun looking for other viable breast-cancer screening tools. In a preliminary study, researchers report promising results with a new technique: evaluating breast milk for signs of cancer.
"We have found alterations in protein expression in the breast milk of women with breast cancer compared to women without breast cancer," said study first author Roshanak Aslebagh.
"Those proteins might be a potential biomarker of breast cancer," said Aslebagh, a doctoral candidate at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. A "biomarker" can be an indicator of a disease process, a normal biological process or responses to medication. In this case, it indicates disease, the researchers said.
"It's a pilot study and we have only 10 samples," Aslebagh said. More work is needed to confirm the results. Even so, she said the research builds on previous work with similar findings. Detecting cancer in young women can be difficult, Aslebagh said. Younger women tend to have breast tissue that is dense, rather than fatty... >>>