When women undergo a mammogram, they should be offered ultrasound breast cancer screening as a matter of course, recommended by experts, since this could help prevent thousands of cases of breast cancer.
Women with abnormally dense breast tissue should be routinely referred for a secondary ultrasound check, since they are thought to be more at risk of developing breast cancer.
This factor of breast density is a key to predicting a woman’s cancer risk. Breast density is determined by the percentage of fatty tissue versus the glandular or connecting tissue of the breast. Higher density means higher breast cancer risk.
By getting an ultrasound for women with dense breast tissue, the rate of detection of breast cancer can go up by 43%. The problem is that women are given all clear after a mammogram is performed even though a further examination by ultrasound could actually reveal the existence of a tumor that went undetected in a mammogram.
According to the web site Are you Dense, when there is a lesser proportion of fatty tissue in the breast, the dense connective tissue shows up white on the mammogram, which can obscure tumors and prevent them from being detected.