Breast Cancer: Screenings for dense breasts

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Breasts are made up of fat, glands and fibrous tissue; however, dense breasts have a larger amount of fibrous tissue, which is indicated by a mammogram.

There are four categories of breast density, from all fatty tissue to extremely dense tissue with very little fat. Women with dense breasts have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with less dense breasts, because dense breasts make it harder for radiologists to spot breast abnormalities.

With this in mind, annual mammograms are especially important for women with dense breasts. 3D mammograms and MRIs are sometimes recommended for women with dense breasts, as they provide greater visibility so radiologists can see the breast tissue in greater detail, and they can scan for abnormalities that a regular mammogram may not be able to pick up.

Whether a 3D mammogram or an MRI is recommended is mostly dependent on a woman’s family history of breast cancer. An MRI provides the greatest detail, and may be recommended for women with strong family histories of breast cancer.

Cone Health offers several locations for mammography services, including Cone Health Women’s Hospital, MedCenter High Point, Annie Penn Hospital and The Breast Center of Greensboro Imaging.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Vinay Gudena is a medical oncologist at Cone Health Cancer Center, specializing in treating breast cancer. Gudena earned his medical degree at Andhra Medical College in Visakhapatnam, A.P, India. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Northeastern University College of Medicine in Canton, Ohio. Gudena earned a fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and is board certified in internal medicine, hematology and oncology.