Across the country several states, including right here in Texas, are passing laws making it mandatory that women be notified they have it after getting a mammogram.
While there's a debate on how important it is for women to know, one doctor thinks it could change how breast care is provided.
Carolyn Achenbach is among the 10 percent of American women with dense breast tissue.
A recent study by the National Cancer Institute shows those with dense breasts were no more likely to die than patients whose tissue was not as dense, but dense tissue has been associated with a four to six-fold increase in a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. That is partly because tumors in dense breast tissue can be harder to spot with a mammogram.
Doctor Jennifer Harvey says, "Mammography is the most effective tool that we have for detecting breast cancer. The way we measure breast density is not very good."
Doctor Harvey is a breast imaging expert. She says right now there is no easy to way to measure breast density, so she is developing something to help women better understand their cancer risk.
Harvey says, "Our goal in this study is that we are going to include breast density into a risk model. It will be here is your result and here is you risk of breast cancer."
The doctor believes the personalized model could help women determine how often they should get mammograms, instead of relying on age-based recommendations.
The first phase of Doctor Harvey's risk model study is being funded by a five and half million dollar government grant.
It will continue to be developed over the next three years.
If successful, the model could be available for widespread use within six years.
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