Oak Hill, WV (WOAY) – According to the CDC, mammograms are the most effective tool for diagnosing breast cancer. However, detection can prove more difficult for individuals with dense breast tissue.
Dr. Nanditha George, breast radiologist at ARH Medical Mall in Hazard, KY, explains there are four descriptors of breast density: almost entirely fatty, scattered areas of fibroglandular density, heterogeneously dense, and extremely dense.
The last two descriptors are classified as having dense tissue, which Dr. George states are a common finding.
She reports that while fatty breasts appear dark and mostly transparent, the components of dense breasts are white and solid. The components make screening more difficult because it easily masks cancer which also appears white.
Dr. George also reports individuals with dense breasts are at a greater risk for developing breast cancer, and researchers are still working to identify the reason.
Considering the increased risk and difficulty of detecting, Dr. George recommends additional testing after mammograms to effectively identify cancer. Additionally, she recommends annual screening beginning at age 40 and earlier screenings for those considered high risk.