p.s. Sorry about the typos... :-(
Awesome post BB!!
I was one of the women who had very dense breasts but was ER/PR positive 90%.
I was told that dense breasts do increase the risk for breast cancer and as evidenced with my invasive lobular carcinoma, it hid it very well.
Hopefully this study they did will get insurance companies to open their tight wallets to allow women with dense breasts to get MRI's for diagnostic purposes. :)
As always excellent research bb...
Thank you so much!!
Don't worry about the typos...we all do that,especially me! LOL
To clarify the initial information, radiologists use the following categories to rate breast density:
Breast Imaging Lexicon
Mammographic Breast Composition
Mammographic breast composition is described as follows:
1. The breast is almost entirely fat (less than 25% glandular)
2. Scattered fibroglandular densities (25-50%)
3. Heterogeneously dense breast tissue (51-75%)
4. Extremely dense (greater than 75% glandular)
About 4 out of 5 women are rated 2 or 3, and only about 10% a 1 and 10% a 4. (These scores are only estimates, however, based on the radiologists' observations of the images, not by precise measurements.)
Apparently it is the "extremely dense" tissues that carries the additional BC risks reported above.
After menopause, the dense fibroglandular tissue tends to be replaced by fatty tissue, but older women who take hormones may still have dense breasts, because the hormones keep the tissue more like that in pre-menopausal breasts. This is one reason to talk to your doctor about limiting hormone replacement therapy.
How can you get your Dr. to refer you for either an MRI or entire breast ultrasound? I have been asking for one or the other for at least the last 3 years, as my report always comes back with "dense" or "Heterogeneously dense". I go for my annual mammo next week and wonder how you get either done. thanks
The squeeky wheel always get the grease. The better the argument for it the more the likelihood you'll get it.
When I found out I had to have a biopsy (his words to me were immediately or sooner!) I asked the gal doing the ultrasound to please also image me other breast and she said there weren't orders for that. I looked at her and said look, you and I know I've got breast cancer and the biopsy will prove that but I need to know if my other breast is clear. She did to the ultrasound for me.
Sometimes we have to push push push for what we feel we need. My dense breasts hid a 10 cm mass. There was no lump and the mammogram was clean. I fell into the 15 % of cancers that don't image.
Thanks SO much, bb, for this valuable information. I had heard this before, but I don't think that it was verified with the research at that time. I agree with Sue, that maybe insurance companies need to cover MRI for women with the higher ratings of density. Because of my LCIS, my insurance does cover my MRIs, but I still have a 10% copay which is close to $150 every 6 months. They also refused to cover the CAD services, which I appealed and they denied. I told them my niece's husband is a radiologist and he says CAD review of breast MRIs is the gold standard and no radiologist would review one without it. Besides the fact that my life could be in the balance, I also said finding a cancer early is certainly less costly to them than finding it late. I thought the money issue would sway them, but I was wrong---I still have to pay the $75 charge for it. Fortunately, I have the money for it and it's a small price to pay for my peace of mind, but it's still an extra expense. Women in tighter financial circumstances might not know how to get this service. We just need to keep pushing for the services we need, as Sue said and hoping for the best.