The Food and Drug Administration just released new national screening standards that will help detect breast cancer earlier for more women who have “dense breast tissue” which affects about half of women over 40, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dense breast tissue can make cancers more difficult to detect on a mammogram, and dense breasts have been identified as a risk factor for developing breast cancer. The new rules will require mammogram providers across the U.S. to notify women if they have dense breast tissue and recommend that they consult with a doctor to determine whether they need additional screening.
According to JoAnn Pushkin, executive director of New York-based DenseBreast-info, “Dense breasts show up white on a mammogram. Unfortunately, so does cancer. So that cancer in dense breast tissue is like trying to find a snowball in a blizzard easily missed and overlooked,” she said.