What Is the Difference Between Staging and Grading in Breast Cancer?
Breast Health: Get Your Grade
Women with dense breasts have five times the risk of developing breast cancer as those who don't, according to new research.
A review of breast cancer cases revealed that a substantial 16% were linked to density in at least half of the breast, say researchers at the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research in Toronto. "That makes it a more potent risk factor than family history of the disease," says study author Norman Boyd, MD.
Dense breasts have more tightly packed milk glands and ducts than other women's. You can't judge by size or feel, so take these steps:
Learn Your "Density Grade"
Your radiologist provides a rating on your mammogram report:
"1" indicates no dense tissue;
"2" means at least one dense area;
"3" indicates dense tissue in 50 to 75% of your breast;
"4" means dense tissue in more than 75%.
Consider More (Or Better) Tests
If you score a 3 or 4, consider other tests. A mammogram plus an ultrasound catches 97% of cancers in this tissue, and digital mammograms find 15% more positive cases than regular films. Also ask about an MRI scan.
Video: Stage 2 Breast Cancer Treatment
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