Thursday, 15 September 2016

What is Breast Density?

The breast tissues are formed mainly of milk ducts, milk glands, supportive tissue which is dense in nature and fatty tissues that are non dense tissues. Dense Breasts are so since they have more
dense tissues than the fatty tissue. The density of breast can be categorized as:
  •   Fatty
  • Scattered fibro glandular density
  •  Heterogeneously dense
  •  Extremely dense

The last two categories-Heterogeneously dense and extremely dense are considered as ‘dense breasts’.
The density of a woman’s breast is determined by a Mammogram.
A mammogram is simply an x-ray of the breast. It is used to check lumps, cancers or other symptoms of breast. A screening mammography is one that is used to check if the patient has no symptoms of disease at all.
It is absolutely a normal health condition to have dense breasts. More than 50% of the women who are in the age bracket of 40 have dense breasts and 40% of the women above 40 years of age have dense breasts.
Women with dense breasts are 4 to 6 times more likely to have breast cancer than the women with fatty breasts. Though mammograms are the right test to find cancers that are not visible on other forms of screenings yet there are more than 50% chances of missing a cancer present in case of patients with dense breasts.
In such cases of dense breasts, a doctor usually suggests the patient some additional screening tests like a breast ultrasound or a breast MRI to get a clear picture on detecting a breast cancer in its early stages.

The only piece of advice for women with dense breasts is to stay aware and get regular checkups done. This must include additional screenings apart from mammograms.

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