Don’t Be Dense about Dense Breasts
By Norma E. Roth
Mammography is considered the gold standard and most effective tool for early detection of breast cancer. Women with dense breast tissue, in comparison to women with less dense breasts, are at higher risk of getting breast cancer. Tumors in dense breasts are also harder to find. 3D Digitial Tomosynthesis Mammography is strongly recommended for women with dense breasts. 3D mammography is a more accurate screening tool because of its ability to take individual images through layers of the breast, allowing the radiologist to review breast tissue slice by slice.
Dense breasts are common and are not considered abnormal. In fact, many women have dense breasts. According to the American Cancer Society, breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fatty tissue. The four categories of breast density are:
1. Predominately fatty
2. Scattered fibroglandular densities
3. Heterogeneously dense
4. Extremely dense
How do you know if you have dense breasts? The condition can be identified only through a mammography, which is why women should have annual mammography screening beginning at age 40. Starting May 1, 2014, NJ State Law requires mammography reports be sent to patients (and their physicians) who are identified as having dense breast tissue as determined by the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology. This new law enables women with dense breasts to become more proactive about their breast health.
Read more about breast density on our website.
About Norma E. Roth
Norma E. Roth, a breast cancer survivor, is a freelance journalist for health wellness and sustainable living. She is an advocate for annual mammography screening, believing early detection is the key to cancer survival. You can learn more about her at www.normaeroth.com.