What is breast density?
Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibroglandular tissue and fatty tissue. Your breats are considered dense if you have a lot of fibroglandular tissue but not much fat.
How do I know if I have dense breats?
Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. There are four categories of mammographic density. The radiologist assigns each mammogram to one of the categories. Your doctor will tell you whether you have dense breasts based on where you fall on the density scale.
Why is it important to know if I have dense breasts?
Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of cancer, perhaps because there are more cells in the dense tissue that can develop abnormally. Dense breasts also make it more difficult for doctors to spot cancer on mammograms because the dense tissue appears white, just like both benign and cancerous lumps.
What tests should I get if I have dense breasts?
Studies have shown that ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can detect cancers in dense breasts. But please note: Mammograms are the only medical imaging test proven to reduce cancer-related deaths, so while the cancer may be harder to see, it is still important to get a mammogram each year. Please talk to your provider, and together you can decide which, if any, additional exams might be right for you.
What if I don't have dense breasts?
Other factors may still place you at an increased risk, including family history of the disease. All women, even if they have a low risk and entirely fatty breasts, should get an annual mammogram starting at age 40. your provider, and together you can decide which, if any, additional exams might be right for you.
To speak with a Breast Health Nurse, please call 518-580-2278.