Recently, many states have adopted [email protected] density notification laws. This means that when you go in to the doctor for a mammogram they must notify you if you have dense [email protected] or not. This is significant information as the denser they are, the higher the risk you have of developing [email protected] cancer. Density does not mean how big or heavy chested you are, but rather how much tissue you have inside. This is not something that you can feel for yourself, but it will show up on a screening.
The risk for developing cancer is lower than if you have a genetic risk factor, but the risk is still there. The biggest problem is that the denser the tissue is, the less likely it is that a tumor will be found in its early stages as the tissue will mask the smaller tumor. Dense tissue also shows up white on a mammogram which again makes it harder to see cancer if it is there. This is less of an issue when a digital mammogram is used as opposed to a film one.
If you see that you have dense [email protected], do not worry. It is not a death sentence, it does not mean that you are going to get cancer, and most of the time it doesn’t mean that you need extra testing either. Roughly half of all women have dense [email protected] Seeing this extra report on your mammogram results just means that it is something to keep in mind and speak with your doctor about if you are really worried about it, or if you have a lot of other factors that could contribute to [email protected] cancer. Your doctor may suggest that you have an MRI or an ultrasound to confirm that there are no tumors present, but this is not likely.