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Assess Your Risk, Early Detection

Breast Density 101

Breast density has been in the news a TON lately, and for good reason. About 40% of women have dense breasts, which are more difficult to screen using traditional mammography. Read on to learn more, and be sure to ask your healthcare provider, “Do I have Dense Breasts?”.

What does it mean if I have dense breasts?

Breast density is a way to measure how much of your breast is made up of fatty tissue. Dense breasts contain less fatty tissue, making it hard to find tumors or other changes on a mammogram.

How does breast density affect my breast cancer risk?

Studies show that having dense breasts can double your risk of getting breast cancer.

Who is more likely to get dense breasts?

  • Premenopausal women
  • Women who are thin
  • Black women

Your breast density can change as you age, or as your bodyweight changes.

How do I find out if I have dense breasts?

The only way to truly know if you have dense breasts is through mammography. Some states have laws that say a radiologist/healthcare provider must inform you if you have dense breasts, and some states don’t.  Ask your healthcare provider: “Do I have dense breasts?”

What happens next?

If a radiologist determines that you have dense breasts, talk to your healthcare provider about what screening options are available to you, taking into account other risk factors like family history of breast cancer, personal health history, and lifestyle. Currently, there are no guidelines or recommendations for increased or additional screening for women with dense breasts.

What types of screening are available and when are they used?

  • 2D Mammogram: This is the most common form of mammography. Your personal and family health history will determine when you start screening.
  • 3D Mammogram: This technology is becoming more widely available and proven to be more accurate than 2D mammography.
  • Breast MRI: This can be used in addition to mammography if your provider wants a more accurate reading. This can be utilized for women at elevated risk.
  • Breast Ultrasound: This can be used to look more closely at something suspicious. It can also be helpful in addition to mammography for women with dense or fibrocystic breasts.

Awareness in Action™

We all have different breasts – different sizes and shapes with varying densities. Text BRIGHT to 59227 and reply Y, or sign up here, for Bright Pink’s Breast Health Reminders™. We’ll send you regular reminders to check in with your breasts so that you can better define what’s normal for YOUR breasts. One text message reminder has the power to save your life!

 

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