Photo by American College of Radiology/Associated Press, via Washington Post
This is good news! While it is harder to detect breast cancer in dense breasts, research is showing that having dense breasts does not decrease your chances of surviving the disease.
Monday, scientists reported a bit of good news about yet another question: Do denser breasts also signal a worse chance of survival? A National Cancer Institute study tracked more than 9,000 breast cancer patients and concluded those with very dense breasts were no more likely to die than similar patients whose breasts weren’t as dense.
“It’s definitely reassuring,” said NCI lead researcher Dr. Gretchen Gierach, who reported the results in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
Yes, tumors might be found later in the most dense breasts, but once diagnosed they apparently weren’t more aggressive or harder to treat, explained co-author Dr. Karla Kerlikowske of the University of California, San Francisco, who has long studied breast density.
Several states have now passed laws requiring doctors to notify patients after a mammogram if they have dense breasts. Whether that is a law in your state or not, make sure to talk to your doctor about your mammogram results. Women with dense breasts may need to undergo additional to make sure there are no abnormalities present.