You got “the” breast density letter. Now what?

LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – By law every woman in the state who gets a mammogram must be told, in a letter, if she has dense breast tissue.

Last year 6 News spent the whole month of May looking into the passage of that law and why it’s important that women and men know this information.

So, what do you do if you get this letter and where can you get more testing for peace of mind without having to run all over town?

As always, we’re here for you with answers.

“Our focus is women here, we are an imagining center.” Holly Peterson is the radiology service manager at the MSU Women’s Imaging Center in East Lansing.

This state of the art complex recently opened to offer women all kinds of diagnostic tools for their breast health all under one roof.

“We do everything here even if it leads to biopsy, we do biopsies here, too,” says Peterson.

Even though that can sound a little scary Holly says, having experienced, trained professionals on staff helps reduce the stress.

“The one thing about having a dedicated women’s health imagining center, we have experienced mammographers.”

Like Dr. David Anderson. He’s been a breast imagining specialist for over 16 years.

6 News asked him if he has seen more breast cancer cases diagnosed because of the law. “I don’t think the numbers have changed,” says Dr. Anderson. “But people are more aware now of breast density and they’re asking about breast density and they want to know if it has any significance.”

And that’s been a big question for some women since the law passed last year: Is having dense breast tissue significant for me?

“Sometimes women don’t realize they’ve always had dense breasts and now they’re maybe getting the letter,” says Dr. Anderson. “You may have had dense breasts for 10 years. Now we have to send you a letter telling you–you have it. If we see abnormalities in the mammogram, we’ll do extra views, maybe an ultra sound and sometimes a breast MRI.”

For patients who come here, according to Holly, “knowing” the person who “reads your test results,” can offer “peace of mind.”

“He calls his patients with results himself, that’s what he does, full time,” says Peterson.

Dr. Anderson says, mammograms, beginning at age 40, are still the standard protocol for maintaining breast health. But says, it’s still up to “every” woman to do self-exams and speak up if they detect changes or have concerns.

“If a woman feels a lump or there’s a change in her breasts, then we would do extra views; extra studies,” explains Dr. Anderson.

And they would do all that at the MSU Women’s Imaging Center.

The MSU Women’s Imagining Center in East Lansing has a new 3-D mammogram machine coming this summer. It’ll be one of many places in mid-Michigan where women can go for testing.

There are many state of the art health facilities nearby, including Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, McLaren Greater Lansing, Henry Ford Allegience Health in Jackson and Hayes Green Beach Hospital in Charlotte.

They all have 3-D mammography available as well as the other breast diagnostic tools if you want more testing done for peace of mind.

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