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dense breast tissue and breast cancer
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dense breast tissue and breast cancer

I have two questions. First, after the mammograph, the radiologist asked me to go back for an ultra sound. According to them, the breast tissue is very dense and they cannot read the mammogrpah.
Second question, recently I have noticed small red spots. One is on my left breast and another on the upper part of the stomach. Can this be related to cancer at all?
Thank you.
Sonu
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear Sonu:  Dense breast tissue can make reading a mammogram very difficult.  An ultrasound which uses sound waves instead of x-rays, can sometimes help to clarify if there is anything within the dense tissue that warrants further investigation.  The red spots you describe could be many things, from a pimple to an age spot.  If these do not go away or begin to grow, you might have your doctor (or a dermatologist) take a look.  
7 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have very dense fibrocystic breasts.    I routinely receive an ultrasound right after my mammogram for approx 4 or
five years now.  A radiologist actually told me that I should always arrive for my mammo with the ultrasound prescription because my mammos are about impossible to see through.  From what I understand mammo and ultrasound are the common route for
dense breasts like ours.   However my doc recently felt something hard in my breast and sent me for an MRI.   MRIs are not perfect for these type of breasts either, but show things differently, so I am happy to say that I just returned from my
first breast MRI this morning.  I am looking forward to a good report.  Although nothing is 100% I know, having another modality used to assess my situation is more than welcome to me!
One more thing......if they do suggest MRI - try to find a research hospital or very large facility that uses a dedicated breast MRI machine.   They are different than the usual ones but I believe are mostly found in large cancer research centers and hospitals. With this MRI machine you lie on your stomach and your breast hang through to special cone type coils of the MRI.  It is called a dedicated breast MRI.   A few years ago there were only a few in the United States available but now there are many more.   Good luck to you.  How did your ultrasound turn out?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am faithful about getting mammograms, but recently (the last two years)I have experienced "scares".  I will have the test done, but will receive a call within a few days stating that the radiologist wants to take another mammogram and ultra sound.  Each time the ultra sound confirmed "something".  Last year a small cyst was found in my right breast.  I was told that I have very dense breast tissue, making it very difficult.  Now this year I again had a mammogram done, was called to come back and another mammogram was done with an ultra sound test too.  Now the radiologist stated that there was something there, but that it was probably benign.  My doctor said that he didn't feel comfortable with a "probably benign" and asked me to make an appointment with a general surgeon.  Why would I need to go to a general surgeon for a second opinion - is that standard or do you suppose my doctor suspects that it might not be benign??  What can be done about dense breast tissue?
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Avatar_n_tn
Its funny that I just stumbled onto this forum looking for information about dense breasts. I just got back from my appointment with a general surgeon for a lot of the same reasons given to you.  I have very dense breasts. My doctor sent me for a mammogram after he detected a mass in my right breast.  He did assure me that he was 98% sure that it was a cyst.  The mammogram was followed by an ultrasound because they couln't see anything on the film.  The radiologist came into the room and the technician showed him what was most definitely a benign cyst.  "Great," I thought, "now I can just go home and forget about it until next year". Not so fast! Just when I'm thinking I'm home free, I get a call from my doctor's office. They made a appointment for me to see a general surgeon on Wed. May 24 at 10:30 (I figured if they thought it was important enough to go ahead and make the appointment for me without first consulting me, then I had just better go).  I asked why I had to see a surgeon since the radiologist assured me it was fine.  Well, as she explained, it was actually unresolved. So I went to the surgeon who very emphatically informed that it is a cyst, I do have very dense breasts, I do have a 6 month follow-up with an ultra sound in my future, and I would most likely be a candidate for breast cancer in about 5 or 10 years.  What a ray of sunshine he was. Well, that's where it stands.  I'm 58 years old and already I feel doomed.  I guess I'll just keep getting my mammograms and hope for the best.  Good Luck.  I would be curious to know how you make out.
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Avatar_n_tn
How long does it take to get responses once you post a question?
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Avatar_n_tn
Well you did get good news, but what a rollercoaster you've been on.  The earliest I can get in to see the general surgeon isn't until 6/20/06.  I'm 46 years old.  I feel I'm in basically good health and I'm of average weight.  The radiologist stated that he felt that what he saw (he never said it was a cyst or a mass) was non-cancerous and my doctor said she felt it was probably non-cancerous too, but didn't want to run the chance of going by "probably" not to "absolutely" not.  I have a good feeling, but I just don't understand why they make women, like you and I, who have dense breast tissue go through so many hoops and emotions to find out that they are okay.  They know I have this strange situation, so why don't they automatically do the mammo and the ultra sound all in one day and not the mammo, then call you in a week and scare you half to death and then do it again, but with an ultrasound and then tell you they can't tell and you'll need to go see someone else.  It's so time consuming, expensive and emotionally draining.  I do have a family background of breast cancer.  My Aunt, over 15 years ago had a lump removed, but has been fine the entire time.   She never even had to do any chemo.  She has dense breast tissue and she says that she has mammos and ultrasounds done every year together.  

I'm happy for you and am praying that I have the same outcome.
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Avatar_n_tn
Add me to the list of dense breast women. I have always had fibrocystic breasts. I am 50 years old and have had one fibroadenoma removed and one cyst aspiration. Went for my annual mammogram Monday and it came back "normal" Birad 2.

Saw a new gyne today for my pap and he did a breast exam and thought the right breast still felt "lumpy" and is sending me to a breast specialist next Wednesday. The area in my breast he is referring to has been "lumpy" for years and has been noted on all previous mammogram reports. I am very frustrated by this whole dense breat thing, coupled with the fibrocystic issue. The stress this is causing is draining. Am ready to tell the breast surgeon to just remove this cystic area, as I am sick of dealing with it and all the uncertainty.

Linda J
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