This is not merely the opposite of sagging breasts, but those having high density caused by excess collagen. U.S. research suggests that women with dense breasts may need to have yearly mammography exam for early breast cancer detection. This is because they have a higher risk for tumors. However, this can be quite challenging because according to Ian Grady, MD, FACS, breast density can actually make cancer detection harder.
While dense breasts are highly linked to cancer, Grady clarified that it is not an independent risk factor. It is rather a biomarker. And because of this, doctors normally recommend whole breast ultrasounds to patients with dense breasts.
According to prevention.com, you can not tell whether your breasts are dense or not through simply doing a breast self-exam. Only a mammogram can do it. Moreover, the density of breasts may change from time and again; hence the importance of regularly undergoing mammography.
Meanwhile, women who are not at risk for dense breast tissue or breast cancer may undergo the test every three years. But for those with dense breasts, yearly mammograms are linked to fewer breast cancer deaths.
Fox News reported that doctors currently face conflict about recommending mammography to patients, specifically when and how often. Although the exam is helpful and can save lives, it can also cause painful or even unnecessary treatments. Due to this conflict, it is recommended that women thoroughly discuss with their doctors about what is best for them, taking various factors into consideration.
Women can also help themselves through learning about their family history. Increased breast density can be inherited; therefore, it is very crucial to be in the know of whether their moms or other relatives have it.
Amidst the aforementioned conflicts and challenges, mammography is still the best chance to detect breast cancer early. According to Dr. Christine Berg of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, if a woman is at high risk for cancer, she should undergo annual mammography test regardless of her breast density.