Last night a friend of mine brought over her mammogram report and asked me what it meant and what she should do. She had been informed that her breasts were dense, but wasn’t told what it meant, what the next steps were and what she should do.
Though there’s a law on the books in many states that requires that women be notified of their breast density, often their health care providers aren’t making recommendations about what they should do next.
In this Tedx talk my friend, Wendy Damonte, a news anchor in Reno, Nevada explains her mom’s experience and then more about why dense breast tissue hides breast cancers and what you can do.
Are they Dense?
The fact is that over 40% of all women have dense breast tissue.
Finding breast cancer in these women just from using a mammogram is like searching for a snowball in a snowstorm. This is a representation of what breast tissue looks like on a mammogram. The image on the far left has very little density. The image on the far right is much more dense.
Can you see a white breast cancer in the far right side of these mammograms? Neither can trained radiologists.
Women need to know not only whether they have dense breasts, but also, what the next step should be for screening.
Ask for an ultrasound if your breasts are dense. Ultrasound is what is recommended as the next logical step. You can ask for an Automated Breast Ultrasound or a hand-held ultrasound. In any case. Take the information and then talk to your health care provider about other screening tests.
Read my blog on Dense breast tissue for more information.