6 May 2019

Take 3: Identifying breast cancer risk

Cancer

Patients with extremely dense breasts are twice as likely to develop breast carcinoma compared with the general population, experts say.

Dr Elizabeth Lazarus, a breast radiologist from Spectrum Medical Imaging in Randwick, says breast density is a significant independent risk factor for breast cancer.

“If you have extremely dense breasts it is harder to detect breast cancer, which is why these days, we [spectrum medical] use tomosynthesis and ultrasound,” she says.

Tomosynthesis acts like a CT, showing small cuts of the breast which can eliminate the possibility of overlap in the scan.

However tomosynthesis is currently only available in private practice and is not available at public breast screen clinics.

“Ultrasound is also an excellent way to detect cancer in dense breast, but once again it is not used at breast screen at all,” Dr Lazarus says.

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