SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The FDA set new guidelines last month that require mammogram providers to notify women if they have dense breast tissue. 

And, they recommend that they talk with a doctor if more screening is needed.

To be clear, half of women 40 or older have dense breasts. That means they have up to 4 times a greater chance of getting breast cancer.

In 2020 at 37, Erin Lamb felt a lump in her breast. A mammogram caught her cancer early—stage 1.   

The mammographer & breast stenographer at St. Joseph’s Candler has a family history of the disease.

“I do have dense breast tissue,” said breast cancer survivor, Erin Lamb. “I have been called back a few times due to the dense breast tissue.”

Dr. Jordan Dixon, Director of Women’s Imaging at Telfair says about 40% of women have dense breast tissue.

In the above video, is an example of a fatty-density breast.

“The white which you can see is not taking up most of the breast on this lady is the fibroglandular tissue.  So she would be considered a fatty breast density which does not hide the cancer.”

Next is a look at a dense breast.

“You can see that the white is the fibroglandular tissue and that is taking up much greater part of her breast tissue as opposed to the grey which is the fat that we all have in our breasts.  And so the white could camouflage a cancer if there were a cancer hiding in there.”

Women with dense breasts have 4 times greater chance of getting breast cancer.

“It’s terrifying when women think they are getting the best test for them and they are ok for the next year.  That just may not be the case since they have that dense tissue hiding that.”

So in March, the FDA mandated a new nationwide standard of notifying women of their breast density. Georgia and South Carolina have been following the guidelines since 2016.

“This law states that when a woman receives a mammogram she has to be notified that she has dense breast tissue,” Dixon said. 

Erin says she clearly understands the FDA’s ruling.

It will help women stay informed about their health. 

“You’re gonna know with the new FDA regulations so that way you can keep track of your appointments, check your breasts and know for your future children, grandchildren if they need to take extra precaution for that.”

Women with dense breasts are encouraged to talk to their doctor and ask if they need additional screening like an ultrasound or MRI.

The new FDA standards take effect in 2024.