Hav­ing dense breasts is a big prob­lem.

Shape (Singapore) - - Live Healthy -

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.

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