Lurie Cancer Center Member
Nora Hansen, MD
Associate Professor, Surgery, Breast Surgery Division; Feinberg School of Medicine
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Breast Surgical Oncology
The radiographic appearance of the breast varies according to differences in the relative distributions of fat and fibroglandular tissue and determines breast density. Breast density is one of the strongest known risk factors for breast cancer. Mammograms are the gold standard radiographic tool to identify breast cancer at an early stage but the ability to identify abnormalities may be obscured by the denseness of a women's breast tissue. Breast MRI has been shown to be helpful in identifying abnormalities in patients with dense breasts and may be a more accurate way to measure breast density since it is a volumetric measure rather than a two-dimensional measurement. Obesity is on the rise in the United States at an alarming rate and is a national health concern. Obese patients have less dense breasts yet they have a higher rate of breast cancer. Currently, surgery offers the best chance to lose a significant amount of weight rapidly, maintain the weight loss, and improve quality of life. We are proposing to evaluate breast density using mammograms and the more sophisticated breast MRI in obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery to determine if significant weight loss will have an impact on breast density.