Having dense breasts is a big problem.
BREAK IT DOWN: If you have dense breasts, meaning they have more fibrous and glandular tissue and less fatty tissue, you won’t know it until you get a mammogram. If your physician doesn’t broach the subject when discussing the results with you at your next appointment, just ask.
It’s important knowledge to have because research suggests that women with dense breasts are up to six times more at risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. The disease is also harder to spot in dense breast tissue, says Dr Elizabeth Morris, a Breast Cancer Research Foundation investigator and the chief of the Breast Imaging Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
That’s why some women get a second screening, like a breast ultrasound or an MRI. “But not all women with dense breasts need additional tests – only those with extremely dense breasts or certain patterns of density,” Dr Morris says. Bottom line: It’s an individual decision your doctor will help you make.