What Does It Mean If You Have Dense Breast Tissue – Has your doctor diagnosed you with “dense breast tissue”? If you’re wondering what this means or are concerned about the consequences, we’re here to help.
Dense breast tissue in itself is not a problem, but special considerations must be taken to keep the breast healthy. At the UVA Breast Care Center, we understand that not all breasts are the same and provide imaging tailored to the needs of every woman.
What Does It Mean If You Have Dense Breast Tissue
Contrary to what you might think, the density of your breasts has nothing to do with their shape or size. In fact, it’s impossible to tell if you have dense tissue without the help of mammography. We recommend that you schedule regular mammograms as soon as you qualify. At UVA, we encourage all women over the age of 40 to have an annual mammogram.
Fda Changes Mammogram Policies To Provide Women With Breast Density Information
After the mammogram is done, the radiologist will read the scan and tell you if the breast tissue is dense. To get an idea of what the radiologist is looking at, follow this general rule: The dark areas on the mammogram are fatty tissue; The white areas are dense tissue.
But what exactly is this white tissue? All breasts are made up of fatty tissue and breasts. Overall, breast tissue is a combination of fibrous tissue and structures that produce milk during pregnancy and lactation. Some women have more fat than breast tissue, while others have more breast tissue than fat.
When there is more breast tissue than fat, the breast is considered dense. When your radiologist reads your mammogram and sees mostly white tissue, you probably have dense breast tissue. Your radiologist will classify your breast density into one of four categories.
Dense breast tissue is fairly common, but requires more proactive and intensive care than less dense breast tissue. But don’t get scared. Having the appropriate knowledge, you can approach breast care with confidence. Here are some important things you should know about dense breast tissue:
Breast Cancer Density Laws Mean More Tests, Unclear Benefit
1. Conventional (ie 2D) mammography is not effective in detecting breast cancer in women with dense breasts. Breast tumors are often white on a scan and can be easily hidden by dense tissue.
You have a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Statistics show that women with very dense tissue are 4 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with oily breasts.
The first thing you should do is get a mammogram regularly. You should do this even if you don’t have thick breasts. This should be accompanied by any other tests you have performed (
) mammography. That being said, you should be more careful with your breast self-examination if you have dense tissue. Even if you’ve just had a conventional mammogram, you should report any lumps or other changes in your breasts immediately to your doctor.
Ge Healthcare Study: Most People Unaware That Women With High Breast Density Are 4 To 5 Times More Likely To Develop Breast Cancer
If you have dense breasts, your doctor may also recommend alternative forms of screening. So what are these other screening tests possible? There are three options:
1. Automated Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) – ABUS Breast Cancer Screening is specially designed to help doctors find cancer hidden in the dense breast tissue. Because automated breast ultrasound uses sound waves to create 3D images of the breast tissue, there is no radiation in this examination. To find out more about ABUS at UVA, click here.
2. Tomosynthesis – Tomosynthesis is a 3D mammography and has about 80% more radiation than regular mammography. However, it is associated with fewer false positives than with ultrasound or regular mammography. To learn more about the benefits of 3D mammography, click here.
3. Breast MRI – The most accurate test for breast cancer, a breast MRI is done by injecting contrast dye into your body followed by a breast MRI. MRI of the breast can be expensive and is a good option for people who need a thorough examination, especially those with a family history or test results showing abnormal cells.
Automated 3d Breast Ultrasound (abus)
4. Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) – Contrast-enhanced mammography (CEM) is a specific type of mammography that uses medical imaging to create a special image of the breast tissue. With CEM, your radiologist gets a more detailed picture so he knows exactly where to look for potential problems in your breast. To learn more about how CEM can help doctors find breast cancer, click here.
Taking care of your health is extremely important – and so is the health of your breasts. If you have dense breasts, resources are available to help you find out what’s going on with your body and make the best decisions possible.
At the UVA Breast Care Center, we provide advanced breast imaging for women with dense breasts to increase the likelihood that doctors will find breast cancer. Click here to learn more about UVA’s advanced screening tools. This article first appeared in the Delaware Medical Society, March 2018 Issue, Vol. 90 No. 3 and reprinted with permission.
Last spring, the Annals of Internal Medicine suggested the following questions women should ask their PCP for breast cancer screening and prevention:
You Have Dense Breasts. What Does That Mean?
Many of the women reading this article received the following notification along with their annual mammography screening report:
“Your mammogram shows that the breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is normal and not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it difficult to assess mammography results and increase the risk of breast cancer. about the results of mammography to increase awareness and inform you about talking to your doctor. Given. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of the results is sent to the doctor.
Why are we receiving these notifications? In 2003, Nancy Capello found a lump in her breast. She had stage 3 breast cancer. She was angry. She had a mammogram three months ago and no cancer was found. She has launched a vigorous nationwide campaign to have radiologists tell women when their mammograms are “thick”. She became famous and many states began to pass legislation.
But first, what is ‘thick’ mammography? The breasts are made up of many components: fat, milk lobules, milk ducts, blood vessels and connective tissue. Lobules, ducts, blood vessels, and connective tissue are collectively referred to as “fibroglandular tissue” and block the x-ray beam more than fat. The proportion of fibro-glandular tissue in the breast determines the amount of fat in the breast or how white or black the breast is on a mammogram.
Molecular Breast Imaging In Women With Dense Breast Tissue
The “almost fat” mammogram looks dark. (Fig. 1) The mammogram of the breast with slightly more fibroglandular tissue is slightly white (Fig. 2). A breast with a high fibrogland to fat ratio still appears white on a mammogram (Figure 3), and a breast with almost no fat appears very white on a mammogram. This level of density is called “very dense” and occurs in approximately 8% to 10% of mammograms (Figure 4).
Younger women of childbearing age tend to have less fat compared to hormone-stimulated glandular tissue, and their mammograms are often “non-uniformly dense” or “very dense”. After menopause, the glandular tissue usually begins to be replaced with fat, a process known as involution, and mammographic density decreases. There are a few exceptions. Some young women who are overweight and have a high BMI may have less dense breasts. Some postmenopausal women with a very low BMI or taking female hormones may have very dense breasts. There are also certain genetic factors that influence breast density.
The distribution of breast density levels in mammography age women reflects factors such as age, BMI, and hormone status. About 10% of us have full breast density. About 10% have very dense mammograms. The remaining 80% fall into one of two intermediate categories: diffuse fibrous-glandular or heterogeneously dense elements. Almost all radiologists agree that it is completely fat and very dense.
One of the problems with notification laws for thick breasts is that they require notifications to be sent not only to women with very thick breasts, but also to women with non-uniformly thick breasts. Both groups together constitute 50% of the surveyed women. The current method of determining breast density is quite subjective, with considerable variability between observers, especially between groups of non-uniformly dense and scattered fibrous-glandular elements.
The Association Between Dense Breasts And Breast Cancer
Since there are few real problems with increased breast density, half of lawmakers in the United States have convinced them to require radiologists to inform women of their mammographic density. On mammograms of very dense breasts, tumors are more difficult to see. This is called masking. White crayfish is hiding on a white background. Concealment is less of a problem with tomosynthesis or 3D mammography than with previous digital mammography technology. 2D mammography shows all layers of the breast on top of each other. Tomosynthesis shows one layer at a time, so things before and after cancer don’t hide the cancer.
Another reason is that
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