New guidelines released in 2018 by the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care encourage women aged 40 to 74 to discuss breast cancer screening with their doctors and make a shared decision about whether to get a mammogram based in part on a woman’s preferences. But did you know that a mammogram might not be able to detect breast cancer?
Women with dense breasts have a higher ratio of fibrous tissue, which appears white on a mammogram scan, and fatty tissue, which appears black. Because breast cancer also appears white on a mammogram scan, higher breast density can make it difficult for doctors to catch breast cancer even with regular mammograms.
Recording data and informing women of their breast density – there are four categories, ranging from fatty to extremely dense – can provide critical knowledge on the need to explore further methods of detection and increase the likelihood that breast cancer will be diagnosed in its earlier stages. Breast density cannot be determined by the look, feel or size of a woman’s breasts.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network, along with Dense Breasts Canada and other cancer and patient organizations, are working to educate women and decision makers about the importance of reporting breast density information to all women. Find more information and learn how to get involved at the Dense Breasts Canada website.
Source: Dense Breasts Canada