(Benchmark Reporter) – Not only is breast density linked to an increased risk of cancer, it can also make cancer much harder to detect since dense tissue can hide tumors from X-rays. However, new research indicates that women with dense breasts do not necessarily mean that all of them are automatically at high risk.
Women with dense breasts are urged to ask doctors about extra tests such as ultrasound or an MRI to check for tumors that mammography might have missed. Studies have found that mammography coupled with those exams can improve detection of tumors over alone in dense breasts.
22 states have passed laws requiring breast density to be reported to mammography patients, and federal legislation of similar sort has been introduced in the House and the Senate. As moral and safe the thought is, we have to turn to its practical appeal. More than a thousand women would have to be screened to catch merely one potential case of cancer if everyone with dense breasts received additional screening. However, that number drops to 694 if we incorporate the other risk factors.