Breast Screening for Transgender Women

Breast care and attention to breast health are important for everyone. Currently, data on transgender patients is limited with regards to breast cancer screening guidelines, however, data is evolving. While the figure of today’s population in the U.S. is not known at this time, we do know that the transgender population is over the 1.4 million number that was reported several years ago.

Transgender women have a high prevalence of dense breasts, which is an independent risk for breast cancer. Increased breast density is also associated with increased rates of false-negative mammograms. Experts are paying close attention to the fact that transgender women differ from non-transgender women in the length of exposure to estrogens as well as variable exposure to progestogens.

This exposure is an important factor to consider and has, therefore, driven the current recommendation that screening does not begin in transgender women until after a minimum of five years of feminizing hormone use, regardless of age. Some physicians may choose to discuss the risks and unknowns with patients and delay screening until after 10 years of using feminizing hormones, regardless of age.

If a transgender patient is unsure when to start screening, discuss this with a provider, or ask about consulting with a radiologist who has trained specifically in breast imaging and in the diagnosis of breast issues. These fellowship-trained radiologists are a great resource for everyone with breasts.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call: 203.426.3002 or visit our website at ctbreastimaging.org.


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