Do I Need a Different Screening Test If I Have Dense Breast?

woman holding mammogram x-rayIf your doctor has informed you that you have dense breast tissue, you may wonder how that will affect your health and your ability to get accurate mammogram results. Although having dense breasts is completely normal, you may benefit from other breast screening procedures to ensure you remain free of breast cancer in the future.

What Is Dense Breast Tissue?

Breast tissue contains ducts, lobules and connective tissue that are both fibrous and fatty. Lobules are responsible for producing milk and are known as glandular tissue. Fibrous and fatty tissue holds all of the other tissue together and makes up the breasts’ size and shape.

If your breasts are made up of a lot of fibrous, or glandular tissue, you have dense breasts, which is a normal, inheritable condition. Many women will lose density in their breasts are they age, but others won’t. Breast screenings such as mammograms can detect if you have dense breast tissue.

How Does Having Dense Breasts Affect Me?

One of the main problems with dense breast tissue is that it shows up as white on mammogram images. Fatty breast tissue looks black in images. Unfortunately, signs of breast cancer like tumors or calcifications also appear white in mammograms, making it difficult for doctors to detect abnormalities. Additional breast screening techniques may be required to get a true picture of your breast health.

If you have dense breasts, making healthy lifestyle choices can reduce your chance of getting breast cancer. They include:

  • Staying at a healthy weight
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Eating healthy food
  • Stopping smoking

Should I Still Get a Mammogram if I Have Dense Breast Tissue?

Absolutely. Almost all breast cancer abnormalities can be detected by a mammogram even if you have dense breasts. Mammography is the single most effective tool available to detect breast cancer and saves thousands of lives each year.

Should I Consider Additional Breast Screening if I Have Dense Breasts?

Although experts haven’t formed a consensus on what additional tests may be valuable to detect breast cancer, there are several options to consider. Your doctor may recommend a breast-screening plan specially designed for you, including:

  • More frequent breast screening
  • Monthly self-exams
  • Yearly breast screening by your doctor
  • Digital mammograms each year starting at 40 years of age
  • MRIs
  • Ultrasound

Regardless of the breast screening method, it’s important to keep your recorded images on file for a quick year-to-year comparison to detect abnormalities.

Why Choose PURE Mammography for my Breast Screening?

PURE Mammography is Long Island’s premier mammogram facility. We welcome walk-ins at our clinic, which is conveniently located inside the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove. Our caring staff will make you feel at home as you enjoy a spa-like environment in our world-class mammography center. Call us today at 631-652-3424 or visit us online to find out more about our incredible facility.

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