I was first told I had dense breasts when I was 27 when I was sent for a mammogram and ultra sound by my GP because of a lump I had found in my right breast. This was way before I knew I was a BRCA1 mutation carrier or that a gene mutation was in my family.
My mum had breast cancer when I was 21 so I was worried that the lump may have been the ‘Big C’. I had just purchased a block of land and was about to start building my first house.
When I walked into the breast clinic, the sonographer said there was no point doing the 2D mammogram as young woman tend to have very dense breasts and 2D mammograms don’t work well for them. So I had a ultrasound and biopsy which showed that the lump was benign. As I got a little older, I had more lumps develop and more ultrasounds and biopsies. I was always worried I might miss something.
At the age of 31 I found out I carried the BRCA1 gene mutation. I was now eligible for an MRI as surveillance. On my MRI I was told I had fibrocystic breasts on top of my dense tissue. I was told 30 percent of woman have this type of breast tissue, making it difficult to determine a cancerous lump from a benign lump.
I believe the recommendation for young woman having breast surveillance should be a 3D Mammogram, ultrasound and/or MRI as these women are more likely to have dense breast tissue.
If you feel you have dense breast tissue, please ask for your doctor to consider personalising your screening plan.