Women with high density breast tissue are least likely to have small tumors picked up by a standard mammogram.
The National Cancer Institute estimates that about 40% of women receiving mammograms have dense breasts, meaning that they have a high amount of connective and glandular tissue compared with less-dense breasts, which have a high amount of fatty tissue. Women with dense breasts have an increased risk of breast cancer, since dense breast tissue may hide smaller tumors normally picked up during mammograms, enabling the disease to advanced to a stage more difficult to treat.
To counteract this, the FDA has recently approved the first ultrasound device for use in combination with a standard mammogram on women with DBT who receive a negative mammogram (no disease found in your breasts) and no symptoms of breast cancer. Known as the somo-v Automated Breast Ultrasound System (ABUS) this specially-shaped transducer can automatically scan the entire breast in about one minute to produce several images for review using ultrasound capable of detecting small masses in dense breasts. Software analyzes the differences in how the sound waves are reflected off different tissues and back to the transducer to create an image a physician can review for abnormalities.
Ask your physician to recommend additional screening using ultrasound, if it has been determined you have dense breast tissue and you’ve received a negative mammogram.