For Women With Dense Breasts, More Mammograms May Not Be The Answer

WASHINGTON (AP) — More women are learning their breasts are so dense that it’s more difficult for mammograms to spot cancer. But new research suggests automatically giving them an extra test isn’t necessarily the solution.

Screening isn’t the only concern. Women whose breast tissue is very dense have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women whose breasts contain more fatty tissue. Laws in 19 states require women to be told if they have dense breasts after a mammogram, with Missouri’s and Massachusetts’ requirements taking effect in January. Similar legislation has been introduced in Congress.

What’s not clear is what a woman who’s told her breasts are dense should do next, if anything. Some of the laws suggest extra screening may be in order.

Not so fast, a team of scientists reported Monday. They modeled what would happen if women with dense breasts routinely received an ultrasound exam after every mammogram, and calculated such a policy would cost a lot, in extra tests and false alarms, for a small benefit.

For every 10,000 women who got supplemental screening between the ages of 50 and 74, three to four breast cancer deaths would be prevented — but 3,500 cancer-free women would undergo needless biopsies, —> Read More Here


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