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Breast Density

RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,003
edited August 2018 in Health and wellbeing
Hi all 

Am confirmed for the workshop on Breast Density here in Adelaide next Thursday 23 August.

I am prepared to put any questions the blog has on this  issue and report back on the responses. In addition I hope to upload a summary of what I learn on the day - just may need to be the week after as my twins are turning 18 that weekend and have 80th birthdays ( yep plural) on the Friday.

 As the workshop is 10 - 4 on Thursday will take any questions to the workshop that. I have up until 5pm the day before - Wednesday. 


  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,003
    Just curiously @ arpie pointed out that WA is the only state that tells women that they dense breasts.I gather dense breasts renders mammography a poor indicator of early breast cancer.Admit to being intrigued why the workshop is looking at the Legal and Ethical considerations of revealing this information to women about THEIR breasts.
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,606
    I'm also perplexed as to why this would be an issue which is why I haven't responded to you @Romla - I'm not sure if I understand the scope of the workshop as what I'm reading seems bizarre.

    Anyway, my thoughts are:

    I had dense breasts but was never told this was an issue when I had a diagnostic mammogram in my 30s (the cancer diagnosed in my 50s was in a similar if not, the same place as the cyst diagnosed back then).  My genetic oncologist has said that, although I do not test positive for any of the known BC genes, she is confident there is a familial genetic link due to family history.  I have 2 teenage daughters and it has been recommended that they start screening at 30.  Chances are that they will also have dense breasts.  How can it possibly be okay to allow a woman to be screened and not tell her that her negative result is just a maybe?  It can take a lot of courage to go for screening for many women; even more so when they have a family history.  I believe it is unethical and immoral, and I believe should be illegal, to allow that woman to think that she is clear when it is far from certain due to it being difficult to determine.  The other problem of course, is that we all lead busy lives and many women leave their own health last so it is quite likely they may not go in for their mammograms as regularly as everyone would wish.  This means that any cancer has more time to grow if it was not picked up due to density, and if she is not aware that could be a issue.

    As you say, it is about giving women information about their own bodies.  I'm losing my words here and can't think of the term I'm looking for but it's along the lines of "a failure to provide reasonable and accurate medical information/service". 

    I wish I was able to go to it with you @romla but at this stage, radiation is smack bang in the middle. 
  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,003
    @Sister I will take notes and put your thoughts forward but you might be able to alter the time of day of your radiation .I did mine at St Andrews and that was an option mentioned at the outset BUT you do family commitments and may also be getting too tired by it all.A late booking I know is ok as they stuffed up the email address and I had to ring one of the academic organisers about it as my emails kept bouncing back. Above all do what is best and works for YOU . 
  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,935
    Yep - I am with @Sister  with this one ..... not only immoral and unethical, but bordering on criminal!

    The only ethical or moral dilemma is that they are doing NOTHING ABOUT IT!

    If it is good for WA (and apparently they are having lower incidences of the more advanced invasive BCs in women being tested in other ways ....) then it is good enough for ALL the other states.  It is no skin off their nose, just to keep us informed!

    If my GP hadn't found my lumps - I'd be sitting here with them steadily growing FAST until my NEXT mammogram that also wouldn't show them!  :(  
  • RomlaRomla AdelaideMember Posts: 2,003
    I would have thought if people were aware they had dense breasts and what the implications are they might be more vigilant and have the opportunity to make lifestyle changes that may reduce their risk.In addition if I knew I had dense breasts I doubt I would have used HRT which is a known risk factor for breast cancer.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,906
    A friend who's into watching the stockmarket just sent me this. While this is for a commercial product, a study of 40,000 women is considerable.

    The excuses from BreastScreen Australia, except WA of course, are starting to look very thin...

  • arpiearpie Mid North Coast, NSWMember Posts: 3,935
    And you have to ask - if men's testicles had various levels of density ..... what's the bet that THEY would be told to have the necessary additional screening to find the tumours?  AND I bet they'd all be subsidised by Medicare!
  • ArtferretArtferret MelbourneMember Posts: 249
    I didn't realise i had dense breasts till after my mammogram post bc when it states in the report that i had heterogeneously dense breasts. I thought by my age, early 50s, there would have been more fatty tissue in them but obviously not.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,906
    No, we don't get told. Heaven forbid we should be informed about our own bodies. Something that affects the efficacy of tests for CANCER, a disease that can kill us. No, don't tell us, we wouldn't be interested at all...
  • SisterSister Adelaide Hills, SAMember Posts: 4,606
    The only good thing about this with regard to Australia is that if it proves effective with such a huge study, surely it can't be ignored.

    I'm still in the dark about my density.  My breasts used to be dense but what the remaining one is now, I don't know.  At my screening last year, I had two different answers from two different doctors.
  • JulieVT11JulieVT11 Chermside, BrisbaneMember Posts: 79
    So my question is how do you find out / who do you ask.  My BC was caught very early stage after a Mammogram call back.  Mammo picked up the DCIS but not the small tumor, the lady that did the US found the small lump so I'm a bit nervous that my surgeon has said all I will need is annual Mammo from now on for the remaining boob.
  • kmakmkmakm MelbourneMember Posts: 7,906
    It's noted on your mammogram so you can ask for a printout of those results. Mammogram results should be sent to your BS and GP, so you can ask them.

    If your breast tissue is dense you should ask for an ultrasound and a 3D mammogram. K xox
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