Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Something Every Woman Should Know: Your Breast Density

In recent months, the issue of “breast density” has received more widespread publicity. This bit of information has been contained all along in your mammogram report, but no one was talking about it and how important this piece of information is in determining the accuracy of a mammogram. Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective tissue which appears white on a mammogram. Cancer also appears white on a mammogram. Thus, tumors are often hidden behind the dense tissue. As a woman ages, her breasts usually become more fatty and less dense. However, this is not always the case, and women who are using hormone therapy after menopause tend to continue to have dense breast tissue.

What Does This Mean?
It means that for many women, the mammogram may miss a significant percentage of existing cancer! The next obvious question, what can be done?

Additional kinds of imaging and evaluation should be offered to women with dense breasts. This is truly a part of the “women’s movement,” to advocate for non-invasive breast imaging which helps women feel more secure about the accuracy of screening. Insurance companies need to be pressured to pay the cost of additional imaging. This is a big piece of the puzzle to make sure all women are offered the most accurate screening for their individual risk factors. For a comprehensive wellness guide on breast cancer prevention and approaches to healing, visit www.breasthealthsolutions.org.

Multiple Screening Methods Are Needed
Breast MRI is one of the technologies that should be offered to women with dense breast tissue. However it carries the downside of a higher rate of false positive findings. Another modality is breast ultrasound. It does not, however, show tiny micro-calcifications that can show on mammograms. No method gives us all the information we need. That is why multiple screening methods may be needed for certain individuals. Some facilities are offering a new adaptation to ultrasound, called “Sonocine.” The ultrasound is performed in an automated way which systematically scans all areas of both breasts. This is different from a “diagnostic” ultrasound in which a technician looks at one suspicious area identified on a mammogram. Insurance companies are not yet paying for this kind of screening, which runs about $300, so be sure to ask your provider for a copy of your mammogram, learn about your own breast density, and request further screening.

Visit my site for more valuable information about what you can do to improve and maintain healthy breasts by making diet and lifestyle choices and using targeted supplementation. These should be part of every woman’s self care program in addition to getting the most accurate screening modalities available.

1 comment:

  1. Breast health is important to avoid cancer or any related disease. Thanks for the tips