The Doctor Is In: Beyond the Mammogram

Content is sponsored and provided by Beaumont Health

Lisa Awan, MD, Radiology Beaumont Health 
Joshua Dilworth, MD, PhD , Radiation Oncology Beaumont Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, a time women are reminded to get a mammogram.  However that's not the only option for breast cancer screening. In fact, If you have dense breasts, which 40% of women in the U-S do, you may want to ask for different screening. Breast density is a measurement of the amount fatty tissue versus the amount of fibrous tissue in the breast. The more connective tissue there is, the denser the breast tissue is and the whiter it will look on a mammogram.  

Both cancer and dense tissue show up white on a mammogram, so looking for tumors in women with dense breasts can be like looking for a snowball in a snowstorm.  
Because of this, they are often missed by radiologists. Doctors say women with dense breasts may want to ask their doctors for either a 3D mammogram, ultrasound or MRI, to better detect any signs of cancer. Women with dense breasts may be 4-6x more likely to get breast cancer, and 71% of breast cancers occur in dense breasts.