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Health.com: 9 Big Breast Cancer Breakthroughs for 2013

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Breast Density Matters

Several states require health facilities to notify women if they have dense breast tissue (information you can get from a mammogram). "Having very dense breasts increases your breast cancer risk at least twofold," says Karla Kerlikowske, MD, a professor in the departments of medicine and epidemiology/biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Dense tissue packs more of the types of cells that could possibly promote cancer and also makes it harder to see tumors on a mammogram—one reason mammography doesn't work as well on younger women, who tend to have denser tissue. If you're in the dense group, ask for digital mammography, which helps doctors detect abnormalities more easily than with the analog version. (Your doc may recommend an ultrasound or MRI as well.) And use the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium's groundbreaking new calculator to determine your five-year risk of developing the disease.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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