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Are you dense....feel your boobs!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Well, another piece of the cancer puzzle fell into place for me over the weekend. I have always known that my breasts are considered dense by radiologists and it makes mammograms harder to read, but I never really understood how much harder it made it to find cancer through mammography. Even with digital mammography, it's still much more difficult to detect breast cancer. According to a radiologist, a normal mammogram is only about 40% accurate for women with dense breasts.

Not only is it more difficult to detect breast cancer in dense breasts, women who have dense breasts are at a much higher risk of getting breast cancer than the average woman. All other things being equal, women with dense breasts have 6 to 8 times greater risk of developing breast cancer.

I am one of those womem who fell through the cracks with a false negative result on my last mammogram and I trusted that result.

I write about this because I want women who have dense breasts to know not only about the difficulty of detecting breast cancer with mammograms, but also that womem like us are at increased risk.

So....feel your boobs. Even if you have had a normal mammogram the day or week before, don't hesitate to notify your healthcare provider if you feel something and remind them you have dense breasts. Hopefully, that will trigger your provider to order a diagnostic ultrasound.

Tell your women friends, your daughters, anyone you can think of about this.

If you are dense....feel your boobs! Even if you aren't dense....feel your boobs.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good advice - thanks!

    Hang in there.

    1109 days ago
    emoticon I work in Women's Health and it was just recently that Radiologists were required to start reporting dense breasts to patients. We now order 3D Tomosynthesis Mammos for all of our patients, but it's not yet covered by insurance plans and is only available at two centers in our area. It's also only $30-$40 above the cost of the regular digital mammography. We strongly encourage all of our patients to pay this extra, especially if they have dense breasts. We also offer breast surgeon referrals and MRI's to women with a family history of breast cancer and dense breasts. It's too important to not follow up. Thanks for spreading the word!
    1110 days ago
    I one of the dense breasted.
    1113 days ago
    As a nurse and a woman whose sister had breast cancer, I can only say: YES! To know your own body is really essential. Thanks so much for the post ;-).
    1115 days ago
    Good reminder! emoticon I am still young enough that my breasts are considered dense. I just felt my boobies the other day. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1120 days ago
    Good information Kay, thanks for sharing and bringing this
    everyone's attention.

    1120 days ago
    Thanks for the gentle reminder. I am not one of the dense ones, but I know I should be feeling the girls more often than I do!!
    1120 days ago
    WOW. Look how many people are following your advice -- and it saved their lives. You're my heroine! Now I gotta go feel the girls....
    1121 days ago
    Thank you for encouraging women to check their boobs. At 41, my mammogram did not show anything, but a follow up ultrasound found a 4cm and a 5cm lump in one breast!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1121 days ago
  • MICHELE142

    Because I fall into that Cat., My doctor has always order a diagnostic mammo, for me each year. I would rather be safe then sorry.

    Thanks for the reminder. emoticon
    1121 days ago
    Yes, ma'am!!!
    1121 days ago
  • MBELL6312
    My mom found a lump just when the reports were saying self examination was not necessary. It was stage IV, but with chemo, radiation and surgery She lived 8 more years because of it. So YES YES YES check yourself.
    1121 days ago
    I found my lump when I was 39, and I had a very good doctor who got me in within a week for a mammogram, (most insurance won't cover them before the age of 40, but because we knew a lump was there, it was considered diagnostic) and an ultrasound. I have been told stories of younger women being told they were "too young" to have cancer, and that chances are their lumps were benign, but I say don't take "no" for an answer if you feel something; even though 80% of breast lumps turn out to be benign, it's better to get cancer ruled out.

    Unfortunately, mine was cancer, and the mammogram and ultrasound picked up a 2nd lump that I couldn't feel. That was my one and only mammogram, because I ended up having a bilateral mastectomy and no reconstruction.
    1121 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    1121 days ago
    That is exactly what we tell our mammography patients!! And what every good physician should be telling their female and male patients.

    Thanks for the very much needed reminder!
    1121 days ago
    We MUST be our own health care advocate--knowing our bodies, knowing what is normal and what is not, and not hesitating to push for further testing whenever necessary. Thanks for the reminder!
    1121 days ago
    Thank you.
    1121 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    I just finished a mammogram, then ultrasound, then an MRI.
    Thankfully things were OK. But you made me examine myself,too.
    I can't thank you enough.

    1121 days ago
    Very good blog.

    Sending good vibes for you this week!
    1121 days ago
  • LAURIE5658
    This is exactly what I have to deal with also PLUS I lost my Mon to breast cancer in 2008. Just had my digital mammo done Friday and staying ever vigilant. We are our own spokesman!!!!!!!!

    Following your journey and leaving prayers on the path of this journey!!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1121 days ago
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