FDA proposes new mammogram guidelines

GILBERT, Ariz. (FOX 10) - Health experts found that dense breast tissue in women has become more common, which increases the development of breast cancer.

The FDA has issued a new regulation on mammography that affects the accuracy of cancer testing, providing earlier detection of breast cancer.

Banner M.D. Anderson breast imaging specialist Dr. Vilert Loving says it's important for women to be aware if they have dense breasts.

"Women with dense breast tissue. that effectiveness decreases by about 10 or 20 percent, so it's more challenging to find breast cancer in people with dense breasts than with patients that do not have dense breasts," Dr. Loving said.

Breast cancer also appears as patches of white tissue on mammogram testing, so with the new FDA regulation, specialists are able to detect the denser white tissue where breast cancer tends to hide.

"The challenge with dense breasts, so a common analogy that think of is a polar bear in a snowstorm, so you can think of breasts as containing fatty tissue and breasts fibroid tissue," Dr. Loving said. "Fatty tissue shows up on mammograms as grey, so people with dense breast have more of the white patchy tissue whereas fatty breasts have less of the white tissue."

Regardless of dense breast tissue or not, Dr. Loving says women should at least have an annual mammogram checkup.