With this month being Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we want to touch on an issue common among Asian women.
In New York State, radiologists are required to inform women if they have dense breasts along with the results of their mammograms. For women with dense breast tissue, mammographic images may be more difficult to read, making breast cancer harder to detect. Dense breasts on mammography are common in Asian women. Having dense breasts means you have more breast glands than fatty tissue in your breasts. Having dense breasts is not abnormal. On the other hand, it is important to know that women with dense breasts may have a higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who do not.
Many factors can affect breast density. They include age, genetics, pregnancy, use of certain medications, menopausal status or even timing of the menstrual cycle. At this time, there is no consensus among experts whether further screening tests are needed for women found to have dense breasts. If you have dense breasts on mammography, talk to your doctor to arrive at a follow up plan that is best for you.
Mammography can save lives
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women, and the second most common cause of cancer death in women. We encourage all women age 40 and older to have regular mammography to screen for breast cancer. Early detection offers the best prognosis and the most treatment options. If you want more information about getting a mammogram, you can click on this link.
The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center provides linkages to low-cost or no-cost mammograms. Clinical breast exams and breast health education are available at our health center. To learn more, please call (212) 966-0228 for Manhattan or (718) 886-1287 for Queens.
Written by Dr. Allan Ho, MD, MPH, FACOG.
Dr. Allan Ho is the chief of obstetrics/gynecology at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. He received his medical degree from New York Medical College, and completed his residency training from Maimonides Medical Center. Dr. Ho is certified through the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.