Did you know that over 1,000 women UNDER THE AGE OF 40 die from breast cancer Every. Single. Year!? (1) Did you know that nearly 80% of them have discovered it on their own!? AND did you know that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer that is found in pregnant women or women who have recently given birth!? (1)
According to a study published on PubMed, breast cancer is discovered 1 in every 3,000 pregnancies(2)!!! Coming from a young woman who has recently had babies.. that is a litttttle concerning. But even more concerning than the numbers is the fact that compared to older women, young women generally face more aggressive cancers and have lower survival rates (3).
So the big question I’d like to as is why should we have to wait until we are 40 to have a breast cancer screening? And, the amazing answer I’d like to give is – we don’t!! Not with thermography at least.
The reason behind why they tell us to wait until after 40 (or some say even after we’re 50) is because of the density of our breast tissue. It is very common in women under 40 to have dense breast tissue. Well, mammograms have a decreased sensitivity as low as 48% in women with dense breasts (4)!! Take a look at this image, which does a great job of showing why.
The top left is almost all fatty tissue. The breast to the right has some scattered areas of dense tissue. Under that to the left shows a breast where a lot of the tissue is dense. And then to the right you see extremely dense tissue. Since both dense tissue AND tumors show up as white on a mammogram you can see how it could be very difficult to see tumors in between all the dense tissue. The problem is that over half of women under the age of 50 have dense breast tissue. Over half!!! That is a huge number! Then we have 40% of women in their 50s who also have dense breast tissue and 25% of women in their 60s(5)!! So, even for those who have reached the age where mammograms are now recommended, it’s not like something magical happens once you turn 40 then all of a sudden everyone’s breast tissue is no longer dense! If you are someone who does receive mammograms then be sure to ask your radiologist about the density of your breast. They should tell you. As a matter of fact, in 38 states now it is mandatory for radiologists to send a letter home informing women with dense breasts that their mammogram is likely to not be as effective so that they can decide if they would like to opt in for different types of screening methods. Check the image below to find out if your state is one of the many that require notifications of the density of your breast tissue. Even if your state is not one of the many, it is still a good idea to ask as knowledge about your own body will serve you well in life.
The good thing is that with thermography not being an anatomical test, it DOES NOT MATTER if you have dense breast tissue. That would NOT affect our ability to detect the physiological changes going on in your body.
Don’t wait until you’re 40. Early detection saves lives. Find a thermography clinic near you.
1) American Cancer Society
2) National Center for Biotechnology Information
3) Young Survival Coalition
4) An overview of mammographic density and its association with breast cancer
5) Society of Breast Imaging