Women are great communicators when it comes to discussing our family and lives. But a discussion about breast density is not a part of a daily coffee conversation and one we don’t share with our BFFs regularly. Why should you know what your breast density is and why it matters for your health?
You’re not alone if you have been diagnosed as having dense breasts. According to the National Cancer Institute, nearly half of all women age 40 and older who get mammograms are found to have dense breasts. What does it mean if your mammogram report states that you have dense breast tissue, should you be concerned about the results?
What are the causes of dense breasts?
Breast density is often inherited but there are other factors which influence it.
- If you are younger
- Lower body mass index (BMI)
- Take hormone therapy for menopause
The highs and lows of density
- Breast density is a measure used to describe mammogram images. It is not a measure of how the breast feels.
- High breast density means there’s a greater amount of breast and connective tissue to fat.
- Low breast density means there’s a greater amount of fat compared to breast and connective tissue.
What additional tests are available?
It’s important to talk with your doctor about any additional screenings based on your possible risk factors.
- 3-D Mammogram
- Breast MRI
- Breast Ultrasound
- Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI)
Why do I need to know?
Breast density results are an important health tool to help you to stay vigilant in the fight against cancer. You can make lifestyle choices to help keep your breast cancer risks as low as possible by:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Exercise regularly
- Limit alcohol
- Eat nutritious food
- Never smoke (or quit if you smoke)
Be educated and informed
There are 35 states that require some level of breast density notification after a mammogram. Beginning January 1, 2014, the state of North Carolina required that all patients who have a mammogram be informed of their breast tissue density. This is an important step for women and one that adds another level for breast health care.
Take the first step by talking with your doctor about your results and any options you should consider for follow-up or future screenings.
Smart women, smart choices and smart decisions for better breast health!
The information on this site is intended to raise awareness and understanding of specific health issues. It should not be used for diagnosis or a substitute for health care by your physician.