Breast density - we want your input

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Hi everyone

 

BCNA is currently reviewing
the webpage we developed last year around breast density to ensure we are
keeping our members up to date with the latest research finding around breast
density. There are two key issues we are concentrating on:

·        
the concern that
breast density may make it hard for doctors to detect breast cancer on
screening mammograms and

·        
that women may be
unaware that breast density may increase their risk of developing breast cancer

We want women to be able to
make informed choices that are right for them and this means being advised if
their mammogram shows they have dense breasts. We are aware however that there
are complicated issues that have not yet been resolved by experts that may
cause confusion for women. This includes lack of agreement around what advice
doctors should give women around the best way to use information around breast
density to aid early detection and prevention of breast cancer.

Whilst we wait for
development of clinical guidelines to guide the right and consistent advice
women receive, BCNA is calling on your help to assist us develop a new webpage
around breast density. This will help ensure we are keeping our members as up
to date as possible and also help individual women found to have dense breasts
formulate questions to ask their doctors around what this means to their
individual risk.

If you are available to
assist in this review please contact me at policy@bcna.org.au

 

I would love to hear from you

Best wishes

Danielle

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Comments

  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
    edited March 2018
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    This sounds like an excellent development.  Can I ask what sort of assistance do you require? What would it entail?
  • SoldierCrab
    SoldierCrab Member Posts: 3,449
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    @primek

    remember you discussing this somewhere thought  you might have some input.... 
  • Marianne_BCNA
    Marianne_BCNA Member Posts: 245
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    Hi @kmakm
    Thanks for your interest! It will just involve a phone call with Danielle initially and then she can explain to you from there. Are you happy for me to give you her details?
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
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    Yes, please do.

    In a lengthy conversation with my breast surgeon about mastectomy & reconstruction, he mentioned in passing that my breasts were "quite dense". It was only later when I read the discussion here that I realised there was more to it.
  • Marianne_BCNA
    Marianne_BCNA Member Posts: 245
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    Thanks @kmakm
    I will pass your details onto Danielle and she will be in touch.
  • Londog
    Londog Member Posts: 19
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    I used to be obese and had very dense breast.  I would've described them as pulpy.  After changing diet and losing 25lbs pulpiness left.  This was how I felt my tumours.


  • primek
    primek Member Posts: 5,392
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    Well my lump was not visible in mammogram 5 weeks before I found it. I found out I had breast density...medium ..in old mammogram report in old medical file. I didn't know in reality I should of been having ultrasounds also especially with family history.  I'd been having scans since age 40. Bc at 51. Woukd it have made a difference...nobody knows. 
  • onemargie
    onemargie Member Posts: 1,264
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    Hi there I was told I had dense breasts but I had no idea that there was a link to increased bc risk until I read about it On this forum I would of had thrm lopped of after my first mammogram if I knew there was even the slightest risk. I also had a fibradenonoma and I was never told there could be a risk with that either. I’m happy to help.  But I’m away until Thursday so from Friday on would be ok. Margie xx
  • kmakm
    kmakm Member Posts: 7,974
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    I think I'm the same @primek.
  • Carissa_BCNA
    Carissa_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 252
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    Thank you @onemargie. @Marianne_BCNA will let Danielle know that you'd like to help.
  • adean
    adean Member Posts: 1,036
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    I was always told l had dense breasts from young age l had early mammo as my mum had bc at 35.my lump did not show on mammo or ultrasound . My surgeon said dense breasts are very difficult to deal with.
  • Molly001
    Molly001 Member Posts: 419
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    I was also told I have very dense breasts, but not that this put me at increased risk, just that they get less dense with age (39 at diagnosis). I had small b cups and a very palpable multifocal tumor spanning over 9cm and it was still not visible on mammo, but very obvious and cancery-looking by ultrasound. My breast clinic now have a new mammo machine and told me it's very reliable, even with very dense breasts, so no ultrasound required. I hope this is right!
  • KatyJoy
    KatyJoy Member Posts: 181
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    I hope a little about my story may help. I had my first mammogram in 2012 after I had some green discharge from both breasts. I was told due to the density of my breasts, I required an ultrasound, which I then had. I was advised that I had benign ducal ectasia, and due to the fact that my maternal aunt had been diagnosed with breast cancer at 60, it would be a good idea to have screening mammograms every 2 years after the age of 40. I wasn’t told that the density of my breasts increased my risk of cancer, just that my family history of my aunt meant i should be screened from 40.  I then had a screening mammogram through breast screen in 2016 at 41. My breasts looked and felt the same. They were the same size and shape. I didn’t have any lumps, and there had been no more discharge since 2012. Again, I was told that due to the density of my breasts on the mammogram, I required an ultrasound, which I then had. The ultrasound identified an area approx 2cm in my left breast which was biopsied and showed ducal carcinoma grade 2. My surgeon commented that due to the density of my breasts, my cancer had been very difficult to see even on the ultrasound. He recommended a breast MRI to get a clearer look. The MRI was not funded by Medicare and cost a little over $600. The MRI showed my tumour was actually 9cm! It was therefore recommended that I have chemo before surgery to try to shrink my cancer, then mastectomy followed by radiotherapy. I had chemo first then chose to have a double mastectomy in march 2017 due to my cancer being so difficult to find due to my breast density. I am happy to report I am now cancer free! I will always wonder if there was any disease on my 2012 mammogram that was missed due to my breast density, its hard to believe a 9cm tumour appeared in under 4 years, but I will never know the answer to that. I have had my treatment through the public system in Victoria.
  • iserbrown
    iserbrown Member Posts: 5,579
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    @KatyJoy you will always wonder if it was undetected originally  
    I don't have dense breasts but what I had was a clear mammogram and then 2 years later had a 5cm tumour directly under the nipple.  So yes I do wonder at what rate they grow!  I guess the most important thing is it has been found and rid of!  It's the mopping up part that has all it's glorious side effects that unfold as I go along that has me on this constant roller coaster. 
    Annoying to think you had to be out of pocket for the MRI
    Good to hear you are cancer free!  
    Take care
  • KatyJoy
    KatyJoy Member Posts: 181
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    @iserbrown yes, I am thankful that I could afford the MRI at the time as it really guided my treatment so that it was as effective and with the least impact on my life as possible. At the time of my first and second (time of diagnosis) mammograms, I was led to believe that it was normal to have dense breast tissue at my age, there wasn’t anything said about high breast density being linked to increased cancer risk.