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HOW DO DENSE BREASTS AFFECT MAMMOGRAM READINGS?
Dense tissue shows up as white on X-rays — think of how bones stand out in those images. “When I as a breast imaging radiologist describe a patient as having dense breasts, what I mean is that her mammogram looks white to me,” Smetherman said. “Cancers will also look white, so looking for something white on a background of white is more difficult to identify.” Fatty tissue, on the other hand, looks gray on a mammogram, so a tumor stands out.
SHOULD WOMEN WITH DENSE BREASTS STILL HAVE A MAMMOGRAM?
Absolutely, both experts emphasized. “That’s a very, very important message,” Smetherman noted. Women will still benefit from mammography, which is the only FDA-approved screening tool for breast cancer.
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