“The California law mandates written notification to women, after screening mammography, of their tissue density and the need to discuss screening options with their primary care physicians.”
When about 50% of women who have a screening have dense breasts, it’s certainly important to understand how that affects the results of that screening.
Most women respond with: “What do I do now?” or “Does this mean that I am likely to get breast cancer?” The answers, respectively, are: talk with your doctor, and no. The whole idea behind offering patients this information is to start the discussion to create an individualized plan of action.
The California Breast Density Information Group has created a website with information similar to what would be discussed in that conversation. It’s a fantastic starting point to make sure women understand their bodies and can participate in informed talks with their doctors.
Mammography is still considered the best type of exam for breast cancer screening, but for women with dense breasts, an additional exam might be necessary. The sensitivity of mammography is “decreased by up to 20 percent in women with dense breast tissue and up to 50 percent in women at high lifetime risk of breast cancer who also have extremely dense breasts.”
You can read the full article from the RSNA here.