Dense Breast Increases Cancer Risk

ROCHESTER, N.Y., May 21 (UPI) — Seventy-four percent of U.S. women say they have had a mammogram, while 66 percent say they get mammograms on a regular basis, a survey indicates.

However, the national poll by Harris Interactive of 599 adult women age 40 and older, conducted April 28 to 30, indicates 95 percent of women age 40 and older do not know their breast density and nearly 90 percent do not know denser breast increases the risk of breast cancer.

Nancy M. Cappello, founder of Are You Dense, a non-profit organization dedicated to informing the public about dense breast tissue, says the survey indicates 9 percent of doctors discuss breast density with women.

“Prior to finding out I had advanced breast cancer, I had annual mammograms, I ate healthy and exercised and didn’t have a first-degree relative with breast cancer. But I didn’t have all the information I needed,” Cappello says in a statement. “What I didn’t know was that I have dense breast tissue and like two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and one quarter of post-menopausal women, I have a much lower chance of having breast cancer detected by a mammogram.”

However, Dr. Rachel Brem of George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates in Washington says although ultrasound is a proven tool in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, it has not typically been used for screening.

“Several studies have shown that for women with dense breast tissue, supplementing mammograms with ultrasound can increase detection from 48 percent to 97 percent.”

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