Advocates Want More Cancer Screening for those in Nova Scotia with Dense Breasts

Nova Scotia

According to Dalhousie University denser breast cancer are also risk factor for breast cancer, according to the US. National Cancer Institutes. Advocates say that they’d like to see more cancer screening in the province for women with dense breasts, but a Nova Scotia doctor says there isn’t enough yet to support additional screening. Dense breasts are also a risk factor for breast cancer, according to the US. National Cancer Institutes. Health advocates in Nova Scotia are pushing for increased breast cancer screening for women with dense breast. Their call is based on the assertion that dense breast tissues can make mammograms difficult to interpret and is also a risk factor breast cancer. However, currently there are no options for additional screening for women with dense breast in Nova Scotia.

When can I begin mammograms?

At the age of 40, it’s recommended that you have a conversation with your health care provider about the benefits and limitations of starting mammography. However, if your mother, sister, father or brother had breast cancer younger than age 50, talk to your doctor about starting mammograms 10 years younger than their age when they were diagnosed, but not younger than age 30. Your health care provider will refer you for a diagnosed mammogram.

Increased Risk and Misinterpretation.

Dense Breasts Canada’s executive director, Jennie Dale, argues that ultrasounds and MRIs should be standard for women with dense breasts. Dense breast tissues can disguise cancerous lumps on a mammogram. The denser the breast tissue, the higher the risk of developing breast cancer. Dale’s call reflects a growing understanding of the risk faced by women with dense breasts, which make malignancies both more common and harder to detect on mammogram images. Almost half of all women have dense breasts.

Current Screening Options in Nova Scotia.

Despite the advocacy for increased screening. Nova Scotia is currently not providing it. Dr. Sian iles, a medical advisor for the Nova Scotia Breast Screening Program, stated that while breast density is a new consideration in overall health, there is not enough evidence to support additional screening. She added that Nova Scotia is one of only two provinces that offer a high-risk screening for patients with a greater 25% risk of breast cancer.

Discrepancy in Cancer Screening Guidelines.

The discrepancy in guidelines and practices is not unique to Nova Scotia. In the US, the Preventive Services Task Forces has recently revised its guidance to recommend that women begin mammograms to screen for breast cancer at 40 and  continue getting them once every two years until age 75. This is expected to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths by 19% compared with the mammogram regimen it previously endorsed.

Benefits Of Mammogram.

Mammograms Can Find Cancer Early.

Mammograms can find cancerous tumors 2-3 years before they can be felt. Finding breast cancer early increases survival and also reduces the need for harsher treatment like chemotherapy and mastectomy.

Can a Mammography Save Your Life?

Multiple studies have found that routine screening from age 40-74 substantially reduces deaths from breast cancer. Current evidence shows women aged 40-49 who have mammograms are 44% less likely to die of breast cancer. Women aged 50-74 are  40% less likely to die of breast cancer.

Mammography helps you find out your breast density.

It’s important to know you have dense breast cancers, which can increase your risk. Your breast density can only be assessed by the radiologist after a mammogram.

‘ Nova Scotia is lagging behind ’

When she became aware her breasts were in the C Category, She had her family doctor request an ultrasound. Her request was refused. That really surprised me because I was a breast cancer survivor….. I knew I was a higher risk, said Shein , who lives in Dartmouth. For her own peace of mind, she now travels there yearly. I really think that Nova Scotia is lagging behind, she said but Dr.Sian iles a medical advisor for Nova Scotia.


Is having dense breasts linked to a higher chance of getting cancer?

Dense breasts are not an abnormal or diseased condition. However, they can increase the risk of breast cancer. In other words women with dense breasts are more likely to have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with fatty breasts.

Should I worry if I have dense breast cancer?

If you have dense breasts, there’s a higher chance of getting breast cancer. The risk increases with the level of breast density. It’s not clear why this is the case. However, having dense breasts doesn’t make breast cancer patients more likely to die from it compared to those with non-dense (fatty) breasts.

Can dense breasts go away?

No, dense breasts won’t go away. Breast density is influenced by factors like genetics, age, menopause, status, family history, weight gain, and certain medications. While you can’t change your breast density having information about it is empowering.

Which foods reduce dense breast cancer?

Include cruciferous vegetables in your diet, like broccoli, cabbage, Brussels, sprouts and cauliflowers. These vegetables contain indole-3 carbinol, a compound that assists the liver in breaking down estrogen into less harmful components. The detoxifying properties of these cruciferous vegetables make them a good choice for women with dense breast cancer.

What is the age to lose breast cancer density?

The relationship between age and breast density is noteworthy. A large study found that 74% of women aged 40-49 had dense breasts. This percentage decreased to 57% for women in their 50s. This suggests that breast density tends to decrease with age.

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