Do you have dense breasts?
A new Illinois law that began Jan. 1, 2014 requires hospitals to notify a woman if her mammogram shows she has dense breasts. According to the law, Centegra Health System must notify women if a radiologist notes her breast tissue is dense. Here are some frequently asked questions about breast density.
Q: What are dense breasts?
A: Dense breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue. Dense tissue appears white on a mammogram. This includes collagen and supporting tissue as well as ductal tissue. Fatty tissue appears gray on a mammogram.
Q: Should I be worried if I have dense breasts?
A: In short, no. Up to 50 percent of women who receive mammograms have dense breast tissue. Although dense breasts are not abnormal, they can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram. Some studies have also shown that dense breast tissue may increase your breast cancer risk. Breast density is not a major breast cancer risk factor.
Q: What can I do if I have dense breasts?
A: Talk to your doctor about what is right for you. Your doctor may describe additional screening such as 3-D mammogram, breast MRI or breast ultrasound. He or she may also ask you to simply keep up with annual mammograms and clinical breast exams during your yearly check-up.
Q: What is 3-D mammography?
A: Centegra offers 3-D mammography known as tomosynthesis to help board-certified radiologists closely view dense breast tissue. Located at the Centegra Gavers Breast Center, this new technology captures multiple images of the breast at different angles to provide a reconstructed 3-D image of the breast. Tomosynthesis allows radiologists to evaluate breast tissue in one-millimeter slices.
If you have additional questions about your mammogram results and breast density, please provide your information below and we will be happy to contact you.