Have dense breast tissue? Don’t panic

September 14, 2015

Dense breast tissue is normal. Half of women have dense tissue, a higher percentage of glandular and fibrous tissue in their breasts.

Studies show that dense tissue tends to increase the risk of a woman getting breast cancer over her lifetime, sometimes as much as double. Glandular and connective tissue also makes it more difficult for a radiologist to detect tumors in a regular mammogram.

That's prompted a wave of legislation in recent years, with more than 20 states now requiring providers to notify women who have dense breast tissue. Oregon's law went into effect in 2014. Though the letter waves a warning that woman might need more screening, it does not call for a course of action. Rather, it advises consulting a physician.

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