There are a number of factors that increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer. One of them is having dense breasts.
How does a patient know if they have dense breasts? They don't feel any different, but they do look different on a mammogram.
The black space in an image is fat, and the white space is dense tissue.
Women with 50 percent or more white space are considered to have dense breasts.
According to Dr. Neil B. Friedman, Director of The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy and Medical Director of The Weinberg Center for Women's Health and Medicine at Mercy. For reasons still unclear, women with dense breasts have an increased risk of breast cancer, and it can be more difficult to detect in those patients.
"When you have a lot of dense breast tissue, mammography is less effective. I give the analogy to patients: If I throw a baseball out in the fog, I'm probably going to hit you in the face, but you won't see it, and that's a problem," Dr. Friedman said.
Women with dense breasts should have a 3-D mammogram, or better yet, an ultrasound.
View Dr. Neil B. Friedman’s interview regarding dense breast tissue and breast cancer detection.
Founded in 1874, Mercy Medical Center is a university-affiliated medical facility named one of the top 100 hospitals in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters with a national reputation for women’s health. Mercy is home to the nationally acclaimed Weinberg Center for Women’s Health and Medicine as well as the $400+ million, 20-story Mary Catherine Bunting Center. For more information visit Mercy online at www.mdmercy.com, Facebook, Twitter or call 1-800-MD-MERCY.