Why Breast Density Matters

About half of women ages 40-74 have dense breasts.  Breast density cannot be felt by a physical exam.  According to JAMA Oncology, women with dense breasts are 4-6 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women without dense breast tissue.  Tumors tend to be larger when detected in dense breast tissue, according to a study of women ages 50-69 published in Radiology.  Density can be seen on a mammogram, although dense breasts make it harder to find malignancies.  There are four categories of density, 1-extremely dense, 2-heterogeneously dense, 3-scattered areas of density and 4-mostly fatty.  If you are in one of the first two categories, you are considered to have dense breasts.

What’s the Best Screening?

Thermography is a great screening for dense breast tissue, however, it is especially appropriate for younger women (ages 30-50) whose denser breast tissue makes it more difficult for mammography to be effective.  Obviously, it is my favorite and recommended screening for every breast.  It does not have ionized radiation directly on the breast tissue, there is no compression (which can damage cells) and does not discriminate between dense and fatty tissue.  It is 100% safe.  Thermography uses a special camera to show thermal patterns (blood flow patterns) to indicate patterns and changes which could possibly mean malignancy.  Once a thermal baseline is made (using two thermal images at least 3 months apart) any changes in pattern are noted.  If there is a change, further assessment may be needed if the changes look suspicious in nature.  Annual visits are recommended once a stable baseline is completed.  For more information, visit my website at http://www.midwestthermographysolutions.com

Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves to identify abnormalities.  This is non-invasive and creates no ionizing radiation.  This is my favorite alternate protocol for breast screening.

Mammography (2-D and 3-D) gives off ionized radiation directly to breast tissue.  It is no secret that this type of excess radiation can cause cancer as it is not able to detox from our bodies and we can only tolerate so much.  Mammograms also use compression, up to 50 lbs!  Common sense tells me this is not great for any part of the body, although mammography is considered safe by the FDA.  There are 40% fewer false positives with the 3-D, but almost twice the amount of radiation is given off.

My favorite protocol for dense breasts (or any breasts!) is to have an annual thermogram to look for any physiological changes that may be occurring at the cellular level, which would indicate disease YEARS earlier than a mammogram or ultrasound, then every 2 years follow up with an ultrasound for structural changes. These are two very different types of tests.  Many of my patients still choose to have mammograms along with their annual thermograms, they just space them farther apart to reduce the amount of radiation and compression they receive.  Breast screening is definitely an individual choice!

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to contact me at 314-882-7529 or email me at [email protected]

To schedule an appointment, go to https://midwestthermography.setmore.com