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Topic: "Extremely Dense Breast Tissue"

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried —

Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. Posting pictures of symptoms is NOT recommended - you are encouraged to seek advice from a medical professional in the event of any concerns.

Posted on: Oct 29, 2012 07:55AM

kkross wrote:

That was included in my yearly mammography report. No other findings to report. Is this acceptable? Should I talk to my PCP? I don't remember ever seeing that on a report from previous mammos. Thanks

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Oct 29, 2012 07:56AM proudtospin wrote:

it means your mamo is harder to read the report, very common and I was told the same thing for many years

iris Dx 6/2008, DCIS, Stage 0, ER+
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Oct 29, 2012 08:02AM crazyride43 wrote:

kkross, my understanding is that insurance should pay for a screening MRI if you have been identified as having extremely dense breast tissue.  Not to scare you, but my breasts are only considered "moderately dense" and my quite large tumor didn't show up on any mammograms and was discovered through a routine screening MRI.  Thanks goodness my PCP made sure I had that MRI.  I am sure you are fine, but it's worth pushing for this additional screening.  Do you live near a major breast cancer center?  Another thought is to get a referral to be evaluated by doctors that examine breasts every day.  I wish I had done this years ago!

Dx 1/9/2012, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIa, Grade 2, 0/2 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Oct 29, 2012 08:07AM dlb823 wrote:

Malignancies look white on mammograms.  When you have very dense breast tissue, there's a lot of solid white, so it's next to impossible to pick out an irregularity.  

If you have any concerning symptom(s) -- a lump, pain, dimpling, shape changes, discharge, etc. -- by all means ask for additional screening to determine what's causing it. 

Also, not to alarm you, but dense breast tissue has, in itself, now been termed a risk factor.  My best advice is to be sure you're being monitored at the type of facility that has a breast surgeon/specialist who will know when additional screening is prudent.  Dense breast tissue is now being noted on mammo reports so that we will be more pro-active if the situation calls for it -- like feeling a lump that isn't showing up on a mammo, in which case an ultrasound and maybe even an MRI should be requested.   

Good luck ~  Deanna

"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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Oct 29, 2012 08:42AM kkross wrote:

So, even tho...they stated no evidence of cancer found, I should ask for additional testing?

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Oct 29, 2012 09:00AM dlb823 wrote:

I'm not a doctor, but knowing what I know now (and I also have very dense breasts and had 3 additional lesions that did not show up on mammo or u/s), I would see if you can get an appointment with a breast surgeon/specialist who is best qualified to advise you if you need additional screening.  Chances are you're fine.  But on the slim chance that you need additional screening, a breast surgeon who deals only with matters of the breast 24/7 is the type of doctor to determine that.     Deanna

"The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears" Native American proverb Dx 2/1/2008, 1cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 1/16 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2- Dx 1/3/2014, Stage IV
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Oct 29, 2012 09:09AM kkross wrote:

Thank you everyone or your responses. Bless all of you in your recovery. I don't think they should mail reports, without fully explaining the findings...which in my case is only "extremely dense breast tissue" .

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Oct 29, 2012 10:28AM besa wrote:

The laws concerning informing women about dense breast tissue has changed in some places so this may be why you are seeing the information for the first time.  (In the past this information was often included in the report sent to the ordering physician but not included in the report sent to patients.)  As others have have said, dense tissue makes screening mammograms much less effective and in and of itself is considered a risk factor for breast cancer.  When breast tissue is dense, breast MRIs are often used instead of or in addition to mammography and insurance should cover this.   My advice - advocate for yourself, talk to your doctor about this and strongly consider having screening MRIs in addition to mammograms. 

Dx 2007, IDC, 2cm, Stage IIA, Grade 1, 0/1 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Nov 1, 2012 06:03AM DeJaVuAgain wrote:

My " extremely dense" breast tissue was noted on my annual mammography this year and my OB/GYN recommended I have a follow up US. I did as told thank goodness and they would up finding a 6mm BIRADS 4. Yesterday I had a core biopsy and I am waiting for results.

I was quite surprised however when the Dr. at the breast center told me he thought this new requirement was leading to alot of unnecessary biopsies ?? I would think that any one BC they find from this additional screening would make it worth it. I am very confused about how the medical community feels about this new requirement but grateful that my OB/GYN sent me for this follow up. Hoping for B9!!!

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Nov 1, 2012 06:38AM kkross wrote:

I guess my concern, or wonder if you will...the report clearly states no cancer found. Hen later states about the "extremely dense" breast tissue. And basically says the findings could be crap due to the breast tissue being dense? I called my PCP who sent me for the mammo, still waiting to hear back. I know everything is ok. BC does not run in my family, nor do I have aNy other risk factors other than the dense tissue. Maybe that's why she hasn't called me back?

I wonder...how many cases are NOW found that otherwise would to have been found due to falsely reading mammos with dense tissue?