When it came to breast cancer screening, Lisa Spreder did what she should do: she had regular breast examinations and annual mammograms.
Last fall, when her mammography message returned to normal, the mother of four thought everything fine. But her family doctor was not so sure.
"He had told me that he was watching my report, and although he returned normally, he showed dense breast tissue," says Spreder.
The report said that Spreder had done it "heterogeneously dense" breast tissue. According to the National Cancer Institute, about four out of ten women do so. That is, the breast contains more fibrous or glandular tissue and less fat.
This is important for two reasons. First, women with dense breasts are at higher risk for breast cancer than women with thicker breasts. Second, dense breast tissue looks white on a mammogram. But tumors also make cancer, which is harder to detect.
Spreder's doctor also knew that her grandmother was a breast cancer survivor.
"He had just been to a seminar, and he had heard that women who had dense breast tissue and a family history of breast cancer should really go for an MRI because 3D mammograms did not record early breast cancer in women with dense breasts "recalls Spreder.