There are a number of factors that increase a woman's chance of developing breast cancer. One of them is having dense breasts.
How does a patient know if they have dense breasts? They don't feel any different, but they do look different on a mammogram.
The black space in an image is fat, and the white space is dense tissue.
Women with 50 percent or more white space are considered to have dense breasts.
According to Dr. Neil B. Friedman, Director of The Hoffberger Breast Center at Mercy and Medical Director of The Weinberg Center for Women's Health and Medicine at Mercy. For reasons still unclear, women with dense breasts have an increased risk of breast cancer, and it can be more difficult to detect in those patients.
"When you have a lot of dense breast tissue, mammography is less effective. I give the analogy to patients: If I throw a baseball out in the fog, I'm probably going to hit you in the face, but you won't see it, and that's a problem," Dr. Friedman said.
Women with dense breasts should have a 3-D mammogram, or better yet, an ultrasound.
View Dr. Neil B. Friedman’s interview regarding dense breast tissue and breast cancer detection.
Founded in 1874 in downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed acute care university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a top Maryland hospital by U.S. News & World Report; a Top 100 hospital for Women’s Health & Orthopedics by Healthgrades; is currently A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Group), and is recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet Hospital. Mercy Medical Center is part of Mercy Health Services (MHS), the parent of Mercy’s primary care and specialty care physician enterprise, known as Mercy Personal Physicians, which employs more than 200 providers with locations in Baltimore, Lutherville, Overlea, Glen Burnie, Columbia and Reisterstown. For more information about Mercy, visit www.mdmercy.com, MDMercyMedia on Facebook, Twitter, or call 1-800-MD-Mercy.