DENSE BREAST TISSUE
But what happens when your intention to seek out those deviations from the norm are blocked by the overall density of your breast tissue?
Recently, children’s book author Judy Blume, who had received a breast cancer diagnosis after getting an ultrasound, underscored that her dense breast tissue had made her cancer impossible to detect through either a physical exam or mammogram. Simply put, dense breast tissue literally blocks the view, which is why ultrasound is the better detection option for women who have dense breasts.
Causes of dense breast tissue
It’s not a surprising question: Why do some women have dense breast tissue and what can women do about it?
Hormones: Hormones are a significant factor in many breast-related conditions. Young women have more circulating hormones; therefore, their breast tissue is typically dense. That’s because breast tissue contains estrogen receptors, a destination for circulating estrogen. When the liver can’t break down the body’s excess estrogen, then the risk of estrogen-related breast cancer increases.
Fat: Fat also plays a role in breast density. Because estrogen loves fat, pre-menopausal women who are overweight are generally more at risk for breast cancer because their fat stores are greater than in women of normal weight. And fat stores in the breast will attract estrogen.
Environment: Even slim pre-menopausal women who ingest more estrogen than normal through the environment – or through estrogen-mimickers in products, including skincare, cosmetic and plastic items – are also at risk for denser breasts, if their livers are not helping rid the body of these substances.
Menopause: Post-menopausal women produce only a small amount of hormones through their adrenals. These hormones are converted, in the fat cells, to estrogen and progesterone. However, post-menopausal women’s livers, which have often become more toxic over many years, may similarly not be up to the task of breaking down even the small amount of circulating estrogen in their systems. Hormone replacement therapy can also increase breast density.
Solutions to dense breast tissue
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