Mammographic Appearances in Mongolia: Causal Factors for Varying Densities

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Medical Image Optimization and Perception Group (MIOPeG) Discipline of Medical Radiation Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

2 Department of Diagnostic Radiology United Family Intermed Hospital, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.

3 Department of Diagnostic Radiology National Cancer Center, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.


Objective: Mammographic density (MD) is a significant risk factor for breast cancer and an important determinant for establishing efficiency of any screening program. Currently, the distribution and influential factors of MD is unknown among Mongolian women. This work aims to characterize MD of Mongolian women. Methods: The ethical approval was obtained from Research Ethics Board of the University of Sydney (2014/973) and National Ethic Committee from Ministry of Mongolia (2015/04). We recruited 1985 women aged 16-83 from the National Cancer Center in Mongolia for whom MD and age of each woman was known. From this total group, 983 women also had additional available details on height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and area of residency. We investigated the association of each of these variables with breast density, which was assessed by using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BIRADS) lexicon. Univariate and multivariate regression analyses were conducted to explore the importance of these variables as predictors of MD. Results: Category B (33%) was the most common type of MD, whereas 25%, 18% and 24% of women belonged to the category A, C and D respectively. The univariate analysis demonstrated that, younger women had more dens breasts than their older counterparts (OR=6.8). Also, increased MD was significantly (p<0.05) associated with decreased weight (OR=4.5), increased height (OR=0.4) and lower BMI (OR=13.2). Urban women had significantly higher MD compared with rural counterparts (OR=2.2). In the multivariate analysis, 75% of variation in MD was explained by age (OR=4.5) and BMI (OR=7.3). Conclusion: A high proportion of Mongolian women have very high density breasts and age and body size are key factors determining MD among these women.


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