Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Breast Cancer

Get Email Updates

Resource Centers

Related Checklists

Breast Cancer Guide

DaisyN Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month And Dense Breasts

By Dr. Carrie Jones Expert HERWriter
 
Rate This
Breast Cancer Awareness Month And Dense Breasts 4 5 21
learn how to examine dense breasts during Breast Cancer Awareness Month
Piotr Marcinski/PhotoSpin

As October is known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is time to get acquainted with your breasts.

Many women have been told that they have "dense" breasts but they are not entirely sure what that means.

As breasts are often full of tissue, adipose, and tube, it can be difficult to ascertain what is considered normal and when a lump is abnormal.

Doing a breast self-exam has been the subject of controversy as some experts believe it is not useful and do not recommend them. Yet many people know someone close to home who found a lump on their own that turned out to be cancer.

Doing a breast self-exam takes practice and requires doing it regularly at the same time every month to detect normal lumps and bumps from concerning or new ones.

It is not recommended that the exam be done before a menstrual cycle as typically breasts are more enlarged, cystic and tender which can be misleading for some. It is better to do the exam the week after the period has started.

Dense breasts are exactly that. They are denser because they contain less fat and more glandular and connective tissue, making it difficult to see through them on imaging.

This means on a routine mammogram, a woman with denser breasts has a slightly increased risk of having a lump missed simply because the technology cannot see through them. As a result, imaging centers may do additional screening with a breast ultrasound in order to be thorough.

Treatments for dense breasts are limited. It's always a good idea, though, to eat a healthy diet full of fruits, vegetables, good oils and fiber.

Research is still ongoing. However, anecdotally, high amounts of caffeine have been linked to denser breasts therefore reducing or eliminating might help. This includes caffeine in coffee, soda and chocolate.

Natural therapies associated with good breast health include evening primrose oil (at 1000-3000mg per day) and natural Vitamin E (at 200-400IU of mixed tocopherols per day).

Before you schedule your mammogram, have a breast exam done by your health care provider first. This way if anything suspicious is found, an ultrasound can be ordered as well.

Add a Comment1 Comments

Marielaina Perrone DDS Blogger

Thank you for bringing further awareness to breast cancer especially during the month of October.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Dentist

October 1, 2012 - 10:51am
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1641 Health

Changed

610 Lives

Saved

458 Lives
4 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Have you been tested for BRCA gene mutation?:
View Results