Mammography misses every other cancer in dense breast tissue
Over the past two decades, peer reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated that mammography misses every other cancer in women with dense breast tissue.
The figures above are illustrations of the four
BI-RADS scale of breast tissue composition
(fatty, scattered, heterogeneously, & extremely dense).
Breast density predicts the accuracy of mammographic screening at any age. Additionally, the research has shown that by utilizing adjuvant breast screening tools, detection of early stage invasive breast cancer can increase up to 100% for women with dense breast tissue. By failing to enact life saving screening protocols for women with dense breast tissue, cancers are detected at a later stage which conveys less treatment and worse survival outcomes. The impact on the health care system is also significant as a later stage diagnosis is significantly more costly to treat than an early stage diagnosis. Early matters - as the size of tumor at diagnosis predicts survival.
Breast density is one of the strongest risk factors associated with breast cancer
According to the National Institute of Health and a myriad of studies spanning 8 countries, breast density is recognized as one of, if not the strongest risk factor associated with development of breast cancer. Breast density represents a stronger risk factor than having two first degree relatives with the disease.
There is currently no national standard to disclose breast density to women
The decision to withhold dense tissue composition from women is denying women the right to make an informed decision about their breast screening protocol. Public safety of women’s breast health and survival supports the government to enact policy that will require health care providers to be transparent about the benefits and inherent harms of mammography to detect cancer in dense breast tissue.
The medical community has failed to enact a standard that requires heath care providers to inform women that mammography can miss more cancer than it detects in women who have dense breasts. As a result, women with dense breast tissue are being denied access to an Early Breast Cancer Diagnosis. A policy change by the government is necessary to ensure that patient safety becomes a high priority and that the communication of Breast Density to Women is standardized across the country.