Dense Breast Screenings in Frackville, PA
Dense breast tissue is a naturally occurring condition in which women have breasts comprised mainly of supportive tissue rather than fatty tissue. While many might think this condition is akin to having a supportive internal bra, the negatives of dense breast tissue far outweighed by the benefits. You see, dense breast tissue is not such a great thing, mainly because it can hide the presence of breast cancer.
The Problem of Dense Breasts
The problem of dense breast tissue lies not in the tissue itself, but what the dense tissue hides. Breast cancer is an all too common occurrence among women. The American Cancer Society states that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lifetime. The situation is made all the worse for those with dense breasts.
In the course of a routine breast cancer screening, a typical mammogram not only displays dense tissue the exact same way as cancerous tissue, but cannot see cancerous tissue if obscured by dense breast tissue.
Do I Have Dense Breasts?
Women who are most at risk are younger women, premenopausal, and women who have undergone—or are undergoing—hormone therapy for menopause.
Also, breasts typically fall under one of four levels of density (BI-RADS). These are not exact percentages, and your level can change with age. These categories include:
Almost entirely fatty: Affecting 10% of women, the first level of breast density represents breasts that are nearly 100% fatty (non-dense) tissue. Scattered areas of fibro-glandular density: Affecting 40% of women, this density level means that the majority of your breasts are non-dense, fatty tissue, but also have a few areas of density. Heterogeneously dense: Affecting 40% of women as well, women in this density level have considerably dense breasts, at least, half-dense, half-fatty tissue. Extremely dense: Affecting the remaining 10% of women, women with extremely dense breasts, have breasts that are nearly all dense tissue. As you can see, the majority of women have some form of dense breast tissue. However, only the last two levels, heterogeneous and extremely dense are considered true dense breasts. The problem with dense breasts is considered so serious that in some states your doctor is required by law to inform you if you have dense breasts.
Mammogram Alternatives for Dense Breasts
Having dense breasts does not mean you’re doomed to suffer undiagnosed breast cancer. Despite the slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer associated with dense breast tissue, detection is still possible. There is a myriad of tests other than the venerable mammogram to inspect and ensure your breast health.
3D mammogram: A 3D mammogram is a relatively straightforward test that involves the use of multi-angled X-rays to produce a 3-dimentional image of the breast. This can allow physicians to see behind or around the dense tissue. The issue is that X-rays use radiation, a known carcinogen.
MRI: A breast MRI screening allows doctors to see breast tissue on some levels, angles and contrasts. The picture is often so good that various tissue abnormalities are spotted. The issue is that with every discovered mass, harmless or not, it has to be inspected. This may mean a number of biopsies. A breast MRI is often not covered by insurance, so a large out of pocket amount may be required to undergo this highly effective, yet expensive, test option.
Ultrasound: A breast specific ultrasound is a common breast exam test. The ultrasound can show greater detail than a mammogram. However, the experience of the operator comes into play. The saying “it’s the craftsman, not the tool” is particularly true of an ultrasound procedure.
Molecular breast imaging (MBI): With an MBI, a contrast dye is injected into the breast allowing the imaging equipment to differentiate between dense tissue and cancerous formations. Like an x-ray, there is a slight exposure to radiation needed.
For women with dense breast tissue, it’s recommended that you get screened at an increased frequency, upping the rate to at least once a year, as opposed to once every two years. If you have—or believe you have—dense breasts, prevention is your best ally in the fight against breast cancer.
Request more information about dense breast screenings today. Call (570) 232-4766 or contact Grube Gynecology online.
Address219 S. Balliet Street
Frackville, PA 17931
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