Women Need Be Aware of Breast Density and Risk of Cancers Undetected in Mammograms, Group Says

Women Need Be Aware of Breast Density and Risk of Cancers Undetected in Mammograms, Group Says
Researchers with a new alliance, based in Australia and called INFORMD (INformation FORum on Mammographic Density), are warning that women with dense breast tissue are more likely to develop breast cancer and less likely to have their cancer detected through regular mammogram screening — because tumors and dense breast tissue both appear as white, bright areas on mammograms. "We've grown concerned that Australian women are not aware of the significance of breast density in the diagnosis and prevention of breast cancer," Wendy Ingman, INFORMD spokesperson and a lead researcher at the Basil Hetzel Institute for Translational Health Research, said in a press release. About 8 percent of women between the ages of 40 and 74 years old have extremely dense breasts. Compared to breasts with ‘normal’ density, those with higher density have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue, like glands that make and drain milk. Researchers estimate that women with high breast density have a four- to six-fold increased risk of developing breast cancer compared to women with very low density — although they note that dense breast tissue is not a risk factor for this cancer. "Breast cancer is more likely to develop in women with dense breast tissue, but not many women know if they have dense breast tissue. We believe it's important to inform women about breast density so they can make the right choices for their health," Ingman said. "With the technology currently available, it is harder to see tumors in breasts with denser tissue on a mammogram. The danger is that these wome
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