Dense breast notifications are informative but hard to read and understand
Full article: jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2516699
Some states offer women dense breast notifications that are meant to explain that dense breasts are risk factors for breast cancer and can hide cancer on mammograms, and to identify appropriate supplemental screening options. But recent research found that this information is often not easy to read or understand, which questions the usefulness of the documents. (6/7/16)
Laws on breast density notification vary by state.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) has a panel of experts who develop guidelines on breast screening. With regards to dense breasts and screening, NCCN guidelines state the following:
- For women with dense breasts on mammogram, women should be counseled on the risks and benefits of supplemental breast screening.
- Digital mammograms benefit young women and women with dense breasts.
- Tomosynthesis (3D mammograms) can increase cancer detection and lower the chances of additional call backs.
- Dense breasts on mammogram are associated with a higher risk for breast cancer.
- Ultrasound increases detection of cancers in women with dense breasts but also increases number of call backs and biopsies of benign (noncancerous) tissue.
Questions To Ask Your Health Care Provider
- What does having dense breasts mean for me?
- How can I lower my breast cancer risk?
- I have a dense breast notification and carry a mutation in a gene that increases cancer risk. How does this affect my screening options?
- What other screening methods can I use?
- I live in a state that does not provide a dense breast notification with my screening result. How do I know if I have dense breasts?
- Who do I contact if I do not understand what my Dense Breast Notification says?
Open Clinical Trials
The following breast cancer screening clinical trials are currently enrolling participants:
FORCE is a national nonprofit organization, established in 1999. Our mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by adult hereditary cancers.