Different size breasts linked to cancer risk

Different size breasts linked to cancer risk

Different size breasts linked to cancer risk anyone see this report in Monday 20 March Metro. It says women with breasts of different sizes are more likely to develop breast cancer. The odds of developing breast cancer grow by 1.5 with each 100 ml difference between breasts.

Dr Diane Scutt of LIverpool university said that people are genetically programmed to have symmetrical body parts like hands and feet but factors like hormones, disease, and even pollution can disturb the symmetry. Those with symmetrical body parts, despite all the interfering factors tend to have good genetic quality and may be les likely to develop cancer.

Guess what, my left one, where I developed cancer was always a good bra size different from the other. I now know I am of inferior genetic stock.

Breakthrough’s generations study asks whether your breasts are different sizes, now I know why.


findings published in the journal Breast Cancer Rsearch

Me too! My left breast (now no more) was a cup size bigger than my right one. And now such a bonus I can get a prosthesis which matches the right one…and joy oh joy symettrical breasts for the first time since puberty.

I am definitely of inferior stock…my left hand is significantly smaller than my right.

Seriously though…this could be interesting research and I’ll look it up…but the key question is ‘so what?’ …find a cure please.


no comfort to me… … mine are same size and I’ve still got it. hmmph.


Unequal boobs Most people have hands which differ in size slightly, which can probably be explained by dominance. But this cannot be the case for breasts.

For the record, my cancerous boob was considerably larger than its partner.

Very interesting.


Mine were pretty equal too - at least I was never aware that they were much different in size and of course I can no longer check! I’ve checked my hands and they are very similar in size. If there is a link, it must be just one factor among many others.


the serious bits and the jokes I hope I haven’t mislead anyone on hand size! That was a joke! (though my hand difference is probably a genetic fault…but that’s another story.)

The research on asymmetrical breasts is serious research…anyone who wants to read the full report will find it on Breast Cancer Research. Its quite a technical article and as with research of all kinds finding a possible increased risk factor doesn’t mean that the risk factor is in itself a cause. As ever one of the most interesting things about new research is how such reports get distorted in the press and probably lead to more worry and concern. I see BCC has put out a press relaese (see home page) but hope this won’t lead women with differently shaped breasts all rushing off to their doctors.

On another research story today…anyone seen the reports on links between environmental pollutants and cancer…?read the small print as well as the headlines.


left one smaller than right and that’s where it was?

Mine too The fact that my right breast had become considerably larger than my left was the reason I had a mammogram 5 years ago only to be told “dense tissue, probably nothing to worry about” and yet 4 years later they found BC in the larger breast.

What I do not understand and find so annoying is that after having a quarter of the breast removed, why is it still a cup size bigger than the “good” breast, I had hoped they might equal out but No!.


Malignant breast My malignant breast was smaller by a cup size I have since read somewhere but cannot remember where that this can be a symptom of lobular cancer (which I had) I found this surprising as lobulars are usually bigger tumours when diagnosed. So I would have thought would make the breast larger.


—3 cup sizes difference —My left was bigger but the cancer was in the left!!!

all breasts are different My breasts appear of equal size and i got the BC yet my sister definately has one obviously larger than the other and she is ok. I have a friend who some years ago had reconstructive surgery due the difference in size…she was told that she could have the surgery as there was such a radical difference but was also told that all women have one breast larger than the other but some are just more noticable than others and that if they were to be removed and weighed and measured there would be a difference amongst all.

I dont know about the rest of you but i do sometimes get a bit sick and tired of these articles claiming they know what caused our bc…i dont fit the bill half the time regarding diet, children, breast feeding and all the rest and yet i still got it…i think its just one of those things and we could go mental adapting our lives to prevent such things. I think until there is proven research on any aspect of the causes of BC we should all carry on living our lives doing what makes us happy…which i am sure will help us all in our recovery.

I hope i havent offended anybody with that comment…its purely personal opinion…but i do feel sometimes that my head is swirling round with all this information and making me more agitated and panicky by the day…cant be good for us.


Tired of Twaddle Janine,
I entirely agree about all this stuff that comes out on causes of breast cancer. When I saw this different size breasts thing, I thought, great, another case of blame the victim - this time for not having symmetrical breasts (who are these gods & goddesses with perfectly symmetrical hands, kidneys, breasts, nostrils, testicles …?)

Also the stuff that’s been published in the media about different sized breasts talks about a 1.5 increase in risk - what’s that supposed to mean? Depends on what your relative risk is to start with. Also how many of the women in the study were mothers and how many not? Motherhood affects relative breast size. Latest thing I saw today about the study is that more study needs to be done looking at a larger number of women - well what a surprise.

Try this for a good example of inconsistent information produced by experts - according to Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s booklet “Breast Cancer Risk Factors - the Facts”, the contraceptive pill is an established risk factor “Women who are taking the pill have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer compared with those who are not. 10 years after stopping the pill, this increased risk disappears…”

then we get this lot referring to a study published in the NEJM telling us that the pill doesn’t increase breast cancer risk breastcancer.org/research_diet_062702.html

and then CRUK who sit on the fence and say the pill might affect risk (as well as now telling us that breast cancer incidence in women is now nearly 42,000 - and we thought 41,000 was bad enough cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=3270)


The fact is that experts don’t know for sure what things or combination of things cause breast cancer. Every small clue is blown out of proportion by the media and while the experts continue to spend money coming up with things that other experts don’t agree with or getting intial results which then require more study, I think we will get more peace of mind and be safer trusting our own judgement about risk factors rather than believing a lot of the stuff that’s published.

Having said that - JaneRA can you tell me where to find this environmental pollution information you mentioned please? As you know, that’s a topic that presses my buttons and one that I feel is glossed over by the experts - apart from ones that are deemed to be environmental nutters by those experts that think they know better…

causes and risk factors etc Hi Daphne

There were reports about the latest summary research on environmental pollutants in several national newspapers yesterday (21st). Polly Curtis reported in the Guardian and you can easily find it on Guardian Unlimited. The usual summary of arguments for and against…take your pick.

Once again just a general point…the research on asymettrical breasts is not women blaming…it merely points to a possible (and interesting I think) risk factor. Risk factors are not the same as ‘causes’. Breast cancer is complex and the cuases are likely to be multi dimensional. Personally I think genetic factors (which could lead to asymetrical breasts) are likely to be key. I guess we are all interested in the research which feeds our own theories (or prejudices?!)

So bloody annoying to have a disaese which no one knows the cause of…thats one reason why there’s so much mythology around cancer.


A possible future development? How about looking at the length of our index and ring fingers. My ring finger is slightly longer than my index finger. I am aware that this is supposed to have some link with testosterone.and there is a link with testosterone and breast cancer.

Is there anyone willing to give me thousands to investigate the link?

In anticipation.

Thanks Jane for telling me where to find the information. I guess the issue I have is that my perception (prejudice?) is that scientists, aided and abetted by the media, are very quick to jump on any imperfections in the human body or lifestyle which may indicate a risk factor for breast cancer, but all too reluctant to look at factors which don’t fall into that category and which could also be risk factors, namely pollution, certain food additives, synthetic chemicals.

But it’s less easier and less controversial to link risk factors to the victim than to the output of the food, chemical and manufacturing industries. Why do so many people who’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer switch to organic food,organic cosmetics and eco friendly household chemicals? Because they don’t trust the industries that produce the non organic variants.

I don’t dismiss the asymmetrical theory and something may come of it which may help future generations of unevenly sized women, which is a good thing. However, that particular line of research probably isn’t going to help the many evenly sized women who will still get breast cancer. I was one.

Pollyanna Nice try - perhaps the worlds of academia and research would give you money to investigate the link!

Responding again Daphne! I think the reason that some (we don’t know how many) people switch to organic (or think they should) and switch to ecologically friendly household products after a diagnosis of cancer is because people instinctively (and often desperately) want to do things to ‘help themselves’. Plus there’s a whole uncontrolled industry of ‘heal thyself of cancer’ manuals, and advice.

Now I’m not arguing for or against organic here (and actually middle class women who are more likely than working class women to get breast cancer…are in any case more likely already to eat organic…I stick my hand up here) but I am questioning whether ‘lifestlye’ changes after a breast cancer diagnosis do anything other than help people feel in control over something which is so frightenly out of control. Plus some people can’t afford organic or anything other than Value priced household cleaners…and so the guilt and blame gets heaped on them for not helping themselves sufficiently.


Hi Jane I’m one of those who has adopted more “organic” behaviour since breast cancer, though I did try to eat organic before. You could argue that it’s a bit late as I’ve already had breast cancer, but perhaps taking more care of what I eat, put on my skin etc might reduce my risk of recurrence or it might not. I don’t know. I also get satisfaction now by deliberately trying to buy things at places other than supermarkets - because I’m like that.

I don’t agree that buying organic has to necessarily work out more expensive than buying value priced goods. Organic cosmetics and cleaners are more expensive, but part of their sales pitch is that you don’t have to use much each time so they last longer. I find that’s true. Maybe I now use smaller quantities because it is more expensive, but that’s OK - means less wastage.

With food, there is a perception that organic is more expensive. On the face of it, it is, but I believe that the population has become dependent on cheap, less nutritious, “value” foods because we don’t have the time or make the time to buy organic and make meals from scratch in sufficient quantities that can be frozen. I believe that many people who buy value priced foods because they believe they can’t afford anything better could eat a reasonable amount of organic if they were helped and educated to change their buying and food preparation habits.

I have an organic fruit & veg box delivered weekly. It costs £13 and feeds three of us. It features seasonal and UK produced food as far as possible. It makes me think more about planning what we are going to eat during the week and there is less wastage. The suppliers’ website has loads of recipes for those who run out of ideas. We eat all of it. It doesn’t fulfil all our fruit & veg requirements, but most of them - for less than £2 per day for 3 people - I think that’s pretty good value, even for low income families.

I think its all aload of t*ts myself. I have changed a few things so that we as a family are eating more healthily, but I cant take anything too seriously.

If we try incredibly hard to live ‘better’ and then go on to get more recurrences where then? I like a bit of dangerous living, especially as we already are - living dangerously that is!

Organic bananas taste much better than than the ‘normal’ ones, and in Tescos these are normally in much better condition, neither are they more expensive.

My boobs have always been perfectly formed, and the same size, prior to surgery of course, now I do have two differently shaped ones!!

If we ever get to discover the causes directly then we can start to make the right changes, but I do love to hear all these ideas/research

Steph x