Published monthly in The Marysville Advocate, "To Your Health" articles provide information about health and wellness topics.
Breast density & 3D mammography, October 2018
By CMH radiology tech, Krystal Keating
Do you know what type of breast tissue you have? Knowing your breast density is important because having dense breasts makes it harder to see a mass and also increases your risk of breast cancer. Having dense breasts means that you have more fibrous tissue in your breasts than fatty tissue, which can only be detected on a mammogram. About half of women 40 and over getting mammograms have dense breasts.
How is breast density determined?
When viewing mammograms, a radiologist will determine what category your breast density falls under using the Breast Imaging Reporting & Data System (BI-RADS). There are four different categories which are: fatty replaced, scattered fibroglandular, heterogeneously dense, and extremely dense. There are different reasons a woman might have dense breasts, one of them being their age. The younger a woman is, the more dense her breasts are; breasts turn fattier as we age. Women taking a hormone replacement to relieve symptoms of menopause are also likely to have dense breasts. Genetics can also play a role in breast density - if your mother or grandmother have dense breasts, than you are more prone to it.
What changes if I have dense breasts?
Other imaging tests besides 2D mammography may be needed to image dense breasts: Ultrasound, MRI, and 3D Mammography. 3D mammography is used in conjunction with 2D digital mammography and takes images in slices (3D), vs. directional imaging (2D) which can cause fibrous tissue to overlap, making results difficult to read. Ultrasound is used frequently because it can determine if a mass is cystic or solid. MRI is a great imaging tool to screen women with dense breasts because it's more sensitive than a mammogram or sonogram. However, unless you have a strong family history of breast cancer, most insurance companies will not cover MRI, and as such it is treated as a last resort.
3D mammography at CMH
CMH radiology would like to enhance services available to include 3D mammography to better care for patients and remain competitive with area facilities. The CMH Foundation has agreed to assist in this pursuit by directing all funds raised through the 2018 end-of-year donor campaign to this effort. If you'd like to make a contribution, please call 785-562-4473.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month which is always a good time to think about your breast health. It's important to keep up with monthly self-breast exams, as well as having yearly breast exams performed by your doctor. The American College of Radiology recommends that you get a yearly mammogram if you are 40 or over. Always contact your doctor right away if you notice a lump, dimpling, or anything abnormal in your breast.
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