Increased Breast Density: Myths And Facts

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Increased Breast Density: Myths And Facts
Increased Breast Density: Myths And Facts

Video: Increased Breast Density: Myths And Facts

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Video: Breast Density: Why It's Important To Know 2023, January
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Increased breast density: myths and facts

Mammography remains the gold standard for detecting breast cancer at the earliest stages, significantly increasing survival rates. However, for some women after a negative mammogram (that is, in the absence of signs of cancer), it is advisable to stay alert.

Increased breast density: myths and facts
Increased breast density: myths and facts

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Mammography remains the gold standard for detecting breast cancer at the earliest stages, significantly increasing survival rates. However, some women after a negative mammogram (that is, if there are no signs of cancer) are asked to have additional tests.

As explained by Dr. Rebecca Sivarajah, breast imaging specialist at Penn State Health Hospital, the answer lies in the type of tissue that makes up a woman's breasts: “Most breasts include both adipose tissue and fibro-glandular tissue. or dense fabric. The high level of dense tissue in some women may mask cancers on mammograms.”

The fact is that fatty tissue on a mammogram looks gray, and dense tissue, like some cancerous lesions, is white. Therefore, women with dense breast tissue are recommended additional examinations after negative mammography.

In order to raise awareness of the risks associated with dense breast tissue, Rebecca Sivaraja suggests separating some myths from facts.

Myth 1: you can determine breast density by self-feeling.

Fact: It is impossible to determine the density of the breast "by touch", it is detected only with the help of mammography. The American College of Radiology distinguishes four classes of breast density: completely or predominantly composed of adipose tissue (A), there is diffuse fibro-glandular tissue (B), there are heterogeneous densities (C) and extremely dense tissues (D). Classification C and D indicates high breast density.

Myth 2: there can be no dense breast tissue in the absence of excess weight.

Fact: Obesity has little effect on breast density. Overweight or obesity may increase the amount of adipose tissue, but not the relative amount of dense breast tissue. However, a woman's breast density often decreases with age.

Myth 3: Breast density does not affect your risk of cancer.

Fact: The highest density class (“extremely dense”) is 4-6 times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer compared to the lowest density class (“fatty”).

Myth 4: mammography is not needed with tight breasts.

Fact: Additional tests are not a substitute for mammography. Although mammographic sensitivity decreases with increasing density, breast cancer can still be detected with it. In fact, some potential signs of breast cancer, such as certain calcifications and distortions, are only detected through mammography.

The most common adjunctive test for high breast density is a breast ultrasound.

Women with an increased lifetime risk of developing cancer (20% or more), as determined by doctors, may be recommended for breast MRI as an additional test. Magnets and contrast dye enhance possible lesions other than dense breast tissue.

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