Breast Density Awareness Varies Among American Women

Awareness of breast tissue density issues varies among American women. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota recently performed a national, cross-sectional survey to gauge differences in breast density knowledge across different patient populations.

Breast Tissue Density awareness

Approximately 1,500 women responded to the survey and results were published in Journal of Clinical Oncology. Based on results, researchers determined that race and ethnicity, education and income played a role in how likely a woman was to understand breast tissue density issues.

  • 58 percent of respondents had heard of breast density.
  • 49 percent were aware breast cancer detection can be affected by breast density.
  • 53 percent were aware that dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer.

Based on an examination of results according to race and ethnicity, researchers determined that non-Hispanic white women were most likely to be aware of breast density issues. They also determined that women with higher income levels and high levels of educations were more likely to be aware of breast density issues. Women with experience receiving a diagnostic breast evaluation or postmenopausal hormone therapy were also more likely to have greater awareness.

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Is breast density legislation improving awareness?

In a promising finding, researchers noted that women from Connecticut were generally more aware of breast density issues than women from other locations. In 2009, Connecticut became the first state to pass legislation requiring physicians to inform women when mammogram revealed dense breast tissue. Since then, 21 states have passed similar legislation and these results suggest these laws can help to improve awareness surrounding breast density.

Researchers who conducted another recent study concluded that breast density legislation in California had not had a significant effect on awareness. However, this survey suggests that these laws may help to improve awareness over time.

Physicians can help to improve breast tissue density awareness by taking time to make sure their patients understand these issues. At Breastlink, we are committed to sharing accurate and accessible information about breast tissue density to help our patients make better decisions about their breast health care.

To learn more about the relationship between dense breast tissue, breast cancer risk, and breast cancer screening, please contact us.

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