Day 5: Dense Breasts: “Don't worry. ... Remember, you had a mammogram just two months ago and it was normal." The Actual Dance
These are my words after Susan tells me that her internist "felt something funny" in her right breast and wanted Susan to have that “something funny” biopsied.
Not to worry, right? Susan at that time had three previous biopsy tests. She had been watching herself closely. Doctors had been testing her tissue for about a decade. We were doing the right thing. What was there to worry about, and there was not even a lump! And yes, she had a mammogram just two months previously.
So yep, there was me telling Susan not to worry. I think I was really talking to myself.
What we didn’t understand then was that Susan had what is known as “dense breast.” The trouble was with the technology. There was not good technology to see her type of cancer as it was growing in the 80’s and 90’s. Yes, there were suspicions. I can even remember that the test results from the 3rd biopsy several years earlier were sent to the Mayo Clinic for a second opinion and they bothered to say: “very interest, watch closely and keeps us informed.” Her doctor then remarked that this was unusual. The truth is standard mammography can miss up to 50% of the cancers in very dense breasts, and Susan had very dense breast.
The good news is that today there is new technology that can much more accurately see dense breast tissue and to see breast cancer when it first appears. Women need to be Aware of their breasts in terms of their make-up and risk profiles. Most importantly, they need to be checked and tested and what to ask for based on your unique physical make up.
Stats of the Day: Almost 8% of women aged between 40-74 years have extremely dense breasts. ScienceMag
Task of the Day: October is time to get your breast exam scheduled, if not performed. When you do make sure YOU KNOW if you have dense breast and what the latest technology is to look at YOUR BREASTS. There has been some news lately about technology Molecular Breast Imaging for dense breasts. Ask about it. In some States the law requires that your doctor inform you if you have dense breast.
Resources of the Day: Here are two great web sites devoted exclusively to dense breast. One. Two.
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