Dense Breasts. Now What?
A new state law requires health care providers to notify women when their mammogram shows they have dense breast tissue.
Dense breasts are common—about 40 to 50 percent of women getting a mammogram may have high breast density.
According to Keyvan Nouri, M.D., with the Sutter Health network, dense breasts are more difficult to screen with a mammogram. “Dense breast tissue appears white on mammograms (see images above) but so do many lumps, both cancerous and benign. This means abnormalities can ‘hide’ within the image of the tissue.”
Some research also shows that women with dense breast tissue may have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
Regardless of breast density, Sutter Health recommends that all women age 40 and older discuss with their doctor when to start having routine mammograms, and then follow those recommendations. Women with additional risk factors or concerns should talk with their doctor. Together, you can determine if other screening tests are right for you.
For info about additional health screenings that may be right for you, review Sutter Health’s Health Maintenance Guidelines.