Many states now require some form of density notification be provided to women after their mammogram. Patients will be turning to their health care providers for explanation and answers. See the Quick Links box for easy access to educational tools for both patients (available in English/Spanish) and health care providers.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
- BREAST DENSITY CAN OBSCURE CANCERS. Breast density increases the likelihood that cancer will be missed by mammography; as breast density increases, mammographic sensitivity decreases.
- BREAST DENSITY IS AN INDEPENDENT RISK FACTOR FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF BREAST CANCER. Women with extremely dense breasts are 4-times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with fatty breasts.
- IDENTIFY THE HIGH RISK PATIENT WHO NEEDS INCREASED SURVEILLANCE. Annual supplemental MRI screening is recommended in high-risk women beginning at age 25.
- UNDERSTAND SCREENING OPTIONS FOR WOMEN WITH DENSE BREASTS. If a woman has dense breasts, should she consider supplemental screening beyond mammography alone?
- THERE ARE RISKS OF FALSE POSITIVES WITH ANY SCREENING STRATEGY. Tomosynthesis (3D mammography) can reduce false positives and improve cancer detection, but is it available for your patients, and is it warranted?