Many women underestimate breast density as a risk factor for breast cancer, study shows

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 1:35 PM CST
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(CNN) - Women with dense breast tissue are up to four times more likely to get breast cancer, but many underestimate it as a risk factor, according to a new study published in JAMA Network Open.

Dense breasts are normal and found in about half of women undergoing mammograms. However, the extra glandular and fibrous tissue can make tumors more difficult to see on mammograms.

For the study, researchers surveyed about 2,000 women between the ages of 40 and 76.

The study found that about 93% of women didn’t view having dense breasts as a significant risk factor for getting breast cancer, especially when compared to other more well-known risks like having a first-degree relative with breast cancer.

One breast cancer doctor said the study shows there needs to be more education for women and healthcare providers about the link between dense breasts and breast cancer.

Currently, 38 states mandate that women receive written notification after mammography about their breast density and its potential breast cancer risk; however, studies have shown that many women find this information confusing.