If you have been diagnosed with “Dense Breast Syndrome” (or simply, “Dense Breasts”), this means that your breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty, glandular tissue. Glandular tissue makes and drains breast milk and also includes the supportive tissue that is usually seen around the glands. Some dense breast conditions are inherited, but it may also be created by external circumstances such as lifestyle choices and toxic overload. But is there really a higher risk of Breast Cancer for those who have Dense Breasts?
Breast Density and Breast Cancer Risk: The Conventional Medicine View
For years, conventional medicine has stated that if you have Dense Breasts, your risk for Breast Cancer will be significantly higher. In fact, the organization BreastCancer.org states that your risk may be up to 6 times higher.
Don’t let these numbers scare you. It’s important to look at the facts before drawing your own conclusions regarding what having Dense Breasts means for you.
First of all, these risk factors come largely from the fact that as breast tissue becomes denser, it is more difficult to detect Breast Cancer tumors through mammography alone. In fact, based solely on mammogram results, traditional doctors will “rate” breast density on what is called BI-RADS, or the Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System. According to this system, there are four “categorizations” for breast density: mostly fatty or “normal”, scattered density, consistent density and extremely dense. Extreme density carries the greatest Breast Cancer risk according to conventional medicine.
While getting a mammogram is a personal choice for each woman, the side effects of regular mammograms should be considered. There are other options that are simply safer and very effective (more about that later).
If you are diagnosed with Dense Breasts, your traditional doctor may recommend more frequent mammograms as well as other invasive procedures. In fact, there are currently 22 states in the U.S. which require that conventional physicians encourage women with Dense Breast of any kind to undergo additional mammogram as well as MRI, PET, ultrasound and sometimes even biopsy. Going along with current trends, this policy may soon change, however. New information from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has found that “breast density alone should not dictate whether women should receive additional screening for breast cancer after a normal result on a screening mammogram.” The statement is based on a study of 365,000 women ages 40-74 who had participated in the NCI’s Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium as well as information from BI-RADS reports and individual Breast Cancer histories.
Dense Breasts and Your Breast Cancer Risk: What Do the Studies Say?
The NCI report also found that, statistically, women with extremely dense breasts also had the highest Breast Cancer rates. This finding is in line with other studies that have come to the same conclusion.
Although research thus far has not found the specific biological link between breast density and Breast Cancer, some studies point to hormones as being a connecting factor. Especially of concern is the use of synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
According to a 2010 joint study conducted in part by the University of California- San Francisco, the University of Washington and the University of Vermont College of Medicine, “Postmenopausal women with high breast density are at increased risk of breast cancer and should be aware of the added risk of taking HormoneTherapy, especially estrogen plus progestin.”
Specifically, the study found that of the over 500,000 women screened, the Breast Cancer risk was 3 times higher for post-menopausal women with extremely high breast density who were also taking synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy.
What You Can Do
If you discover that you have extremely dense breasts, know that studies indicate that your chances of Breast Cancer may be higher than normal. Here is what you can do to be Proactive with Prevention:
- Get checked using thermography and blood tests regularly. I recommend thermography as an early
prevention tool of choice for any woman on a Healthy Breast path. The NCI report regarding mammogram and Dense Breasts is largely concerned with mammogram’s tendency to issue “false negatives” for women with dense breast tissue. While no prevention tool is 100% correct all of the time, thermography’s use of infrared heat to detect inflammation and physiological changes means that this method can spot possible cancerous activity six to eight years prior to the appearance of any palpable mass. The tumor size may be the size of a pinhead, but it is laying the foundation for future cancer growth.
- Do not use synthetic Hormone Replacement Therapy. I do not recommend synthetic HRT for any woman since studies have clearly made the connection between it and cancer as well as heart disease; I especially do not recommend it for women with extremely dense breast tissue. If you are considering HRT as an option, try Bio-Identical Hormone Replacement Therapy (BHRT) instead. Work with a physician who tests and monitors your hormones through saliva testing.
- Follow the 7 Essentials System ™ for Healthy Breasts and vibrant living! Especially relevant is Essential #2, “Reduce Your Toxic Exposure.” Toxins can lead to Xenoestrogens (aggressive estrogens) in the body that can significantly increase your Breast Cancer risk.
If you have extremely dense breasts, it does not mean that Breast Cancer is inevitable, as conventional medicine may have you believe. It does mean, however, that your risk may be slightly higher. Take care with your hormonal health, avoid toxic overload and follow a Healthy Breast lifestyle and you will not only keep Breast Cancer at bay, you will lead a vibrant, energetic and inspired life!
Learn more about dense breasts and breast cancer in the Survive & Thrive online program featuring some of the top healers and doctors in the world!