Mammogram law flags increased cancer risk

Mammogram law flags increased cancer risk

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by Cathy Marshall, KGW Staff

kgw.com

Posted on January 6, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 6 at 6:16 PM

PORTLAND -- With the new year comes a new law that might change the kind of information you get after a mammogram.

The law requires that you get a letter if the mammogram detects you have what’s described as dense breasts, because that could indicate an increased risk for cancer.

“What I learned is that if you have dense breasts you have an increased risk for cancer,” said patient Linda Atwill.

Dense breasts are the result of glandular tissue. Because it shows as white on a mammogram it can make tumors which also show as white more difficult to detect.

“It’s like a white out, like trying to find a snowball in a blizzard,” explained Dr. Kari Thomas at the Legacy Good Samaritan Breast Institute.

Dr. Thomas said about 10 per cent of patients will get letters following a mammogram.

“We don’t want them to be terribly concerned but it’s really important they talk with their doctor to evaluate other risk factors, ” she said.

A 3-D mammogram every year after the age of 40 is what Dr. Thomas recommends.  It’s also what patient Linda Atwill now relies on.

“My understanding is that 3-D sees things that a 2-D mammogram can’t, and that’s where I get my peace of mind,” she concluded.

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