Medical Monday: Breast density in mammograms

    6:07 AM, Aug 27, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - More women are getting the word that they may have breasts too dense for mammograms to give a good picture.

    Women whose breast tissue is very dense have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women whose breasts contain more fatty tissue. Plus, it can be harder for mammograms to spot a possible tumor.

    On this Medical Monday, Dr. Kay Chandler with Cornerstone Clinic for Women has some insight on what that means for you. Click on the THVideo!

    Risk factors for breast cancer include gender, age, number of first-degree relatives with breast cancer, number of previous breast biopsies, hormone replacement therapy, dietary factors, low physical activity, smoking, obesity and exposure to ionizing radiation.

    Guidelines for a healthy diet
    - Plant-based diet
    - Low fat diet with emphasis on healthy fats
    - Limit processed refined grains/ flours/ sugars
    - Drink plenty of fluids
    - Be physically active to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight
    - Limit alcohol intake (especially if taking hormones)

    Breast density facts
    - Largely an inherited trait
    - May be modifiable with dietary changes
    - Risk of breast cancer is 4-5 times greater in women with dense breasts
    - It is not clear why increased breast density is associated with higher incidence breast cancer
    - Increased breast density increases the difficulty of detecting breast cancer on mammograms
    - There is no standard way to measure breast density. It's a judgement call and can vary from radiologist to radiologist and from one year's mammogram to the next
    - There is no standard recommendation on the appropriate follow up if dense breasts are detected
    - Women with increased breast density respond equally well to treatment if diagnosed with breast cancer

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