Your Density Matters

When you’ve asked about your Breast Density, what answer have you been given?

This morning I was in conversation with a woman who had just been for her Mammogram. She had asked if she could have her Breast Density information and she was asked “why” followed by “we don’t do that here”

Why do we not do that here? In Ireland – that is. Why are Women’s requests for personal information about their Breast Tissue Type waved away and mostly disregarded and even dismissed. The Radiologist who reads your Mammogram will know if you have Dense Breasts. Why is this information not related to women on request?

My late stage Breast Cancer Diagnosis was delayed because of my Breast Density, which was not revealed to me until recently (several years post diagnosis).

“Mrs Freeney was unfortunate to have Extremley Dense Breasts” I had no idea that I had Dense Breasts or that this would make my Mammograms so unreliable it could mask a large developing Breast Cancer Tumour.

Have you asked about your Personal Breast Density information. If so what response if any have you had?

Let us know.

#IAmDense BeingDense

2 thoughts on “Your Density Matters

  1. Hi Siobhán, I was going to say ‘unbelievable’ but unfortunately it’s all too believable that your diagnosis was delayed because of breast density not being revealed. Because of family history (mother died of bc aged 39 and aunt also had it) I started mammograms with St James’s Hospital at age 37. After ten years, when they kicked me off the family history programme, I requested my reports so that I could move hospital. I discovered the same line on all of them, going back a decade: “Heterogeneous density may obscure small masses”. I’d never heard of this & started to do research, and of course found out that density is an important predictor for breast cancer. I’m lucky enough to not have ‘extremely dense’ tissue but I read that heterogeneous is also a significant category. Combined with my family history and nulliparity, I would prefer to have 3D mammo and perhaps supplemental screening for lumps – but I can’t find a GP that knows a single thing about density and getting referred (for supplemental) is a nightmare.

    My latest mammo, this year, sure enough rreported heterogeneous density and a lump on the left side, which I managed to get ultrasounded (after 6 months of to-ing and fro-ing with GPs) to be on the safe sound.

    I have had some ridiculous and downright non-factual answers when I have asked about how I should now proceed with annual screening after I turn 50 next year. Here are some responses (I write them down!):

    “Density hasn’t reached Ireland yet, we don’t make a song & dance about it” (radiologist)

    “Density doesn’t raise risk at all, it just makes mammograms harder to read” (radiologist)

    “We don’t consider density a problem here: either a woman has something wrong with her or she doesn’t” (breast care nurse).

    “You are not dense at all – this report says ‘normal’” (breast surgeon looking at ULTRASOUND report).

    “I’m a surgeon, not a radiologist: I don’t know anything about density”. (surgeon, private hospital)

    “You can have normal mammograms with Breastcare from your 50s onwards because you have normal breasts, 2D or 3D doesn’t matter. You will be too old to have dense breasts”. (surgeon, private hospital).

    Thank you for making me feel sane, I was losing my marbles listening to all of this.


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