A person’s current physical condition largely determines their overall health. For women, breast density is an indicator of the possibility of cancer developing in their bodies. Before any other signs become apparent, it is recommended to consult a medical professional. Early breast cancer detection helps the patient receive better options when it comes to treatments. Your doctor will prescribe safer alternatives, saving you more time and money.
Consequently, it’s best to ask a breast care specialist to examine you. Even though your family health history does not include breast cancer, you must have a mammogram checkup as recommended by medical professionals. Moreover, recent findings have claimed breast density can be linked to cancer, and women with dense breasts are highly encouraged to make close examination of their own breasts and have regular screenings.
Although not all dense-breasted females are diagnosed with the disease, preventive measures are still vital for one’s health. According to doctors, women ages 40 to 74 who have dense breasts are more prone to acquire tumors. high density, however, does make it difficult to examine your mammogram results. A dense breast has glandular and fibrous tissues that appear white on a mammogram, which is quite similar to how cancer looks, unlike breasts with fatty tissues that appear dark on a mammogram.
The state of Washington has a law, passed in 2019, that requires a paragraph on breast density to be included in your mammogram report:
“Your mammogram indicates that you may have dense breast tissue. Roughly half of all women have dense breast tissue, which is normal. Dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to evaluate your mammogram. We are sharing this information with you and your health care provider to help raise your awareness of breast density. We encourage you to talk with your health care provider about this and other breast cancer risk factors. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you.”
“The notification letter often causes confusion and even alarm,” says Dr. Sandra Smith. “What women need most is a good understanding of their overall risk of breast cancer. Having dense breasts alone does not necessarily mean they are at higher risk of developing breast cancer,” explains the breast specialist and surgeon at Kearney Breast Center at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.
The doctor also clarified that, to identify overall cancer risk, other contributors are considered, such as family history, previous medical exams, and genetic assessment. Seeing a breast specialist to have a mammogram exam is important.
In addition, patients with a high risk of breast cancer are encouraged to undergo annual screening and sometimes more. Aside from mammograms, an ultrasound and MRI assessment are essential to truly determine whether a woman may have early breast cancer. The patient can alternate MRI with a mammogram to avoid overexposure to radiation. However, Dr. Jennifer Ochsner, a Vancouver Clinic’s Breast Care Center radiologist, revealed that MRI scans often produce false positives and unnecessary biopsies.
To acquire an accurate report, Dr. Ochsner suggests, “That’s why the American College of Radiology guidelines for supplemental testing of dense breasts start with 3D mammography, also called digital breast tomosynthesis, for those with otherwise average risk. All mammograms at Vancouver Clinic, as well as most other facilities in the area, are already 3D.”
Getting a mammogram exam is essential, and you must make it a habit to do it every year. It’s best to be more self-aware and mindful of your health. For this reason, if you notice that you have dense breasts on your mammogram report, consult a doctor to discuss your options.Whizzco