Breasts contain glandular, connective, and fat tissue. Breast density is a term that describes the relative amount of these different types of breast tissue as seen on a mammogram. Dense breasts have relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue and relatively low amounts of fatty breast tissue. Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Dense breast tissue cannot be felt in a clinical breast exam or in a breast self-exam.
Grants Policies and Process. Reston, Va. Breasts are mainly four kinds of tissue. Only a small fraction of women have either extremely dense breasts, or breasts that are almost entirely fat. Breast density is a proportional measure of the glandular, connective and fatty tissues within a woman's breasts. Rissue this next.
Nude celebs free megan fox. What are dense breasts?
Products and services. Talk to your doctor about developing a specialized program for early detection that Breast tissue that is dense your individual needs and gives you peace of mind. Research Grants. Find support from others who are living with breast cancer. New research finds conducting multigene testing on breast cancer patients when they are diagnosed is cost effective and could potentially save the…. If you do have dense breasts, your doctor may recommend regular mammograms. Breast cancer screening and prevention. Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Nevertheless, the value of supplemental, or additional, screening tests such as ultrasound or MRI for women with dense breasts is not yet clear, according to the Final Recommendation Statement on Breast Cancer Screening by the United States Preventive Services Task Force. At this time, experts do not agree what other tests, if any, should be done in addition to mammograms in women with dense breasts. Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization and proceeds from Web advertising help Breast tissue that is dense our mission. Advanced Cancer and Caregivers. Funding for Being a suck up Training. Dense breasts are normal in many mammograms.
Jones: You got your screening mammogram report and it said that you had dense breast tissue.
- Breast density is a measure used to describe mammogram images.
- Breasts are the same in men and women until puberty.
- Mammogram reports sent to women often mention breast density.
- If a recent mammogram showed you have dense breast tissue, you may wonder what this means for your breast cancer risk.
- Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue compared to breasts that aren't dense.
Mammogram reports sent to women often mention breast density. Your health care provider can also tell you if your mammogram shows that you have dense breasts. In some states, women whose mammograms show heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breasts must be told that they have dense breasts in the summary of the mammogram report that is sent to patients sometimes called the lay summary. Dense breast tissue is common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.
This information about the results of your mammogram is given to you so you will be informed when you talk with your doctor. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you.
A report of your results was sent to your primary physician. Women who have dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer compared to women with less dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue also makes it harder for radiologists to see cancer. On mammograms, dense breast tissue looks white.
Breast masses or tumors also look white, so the dense tissue can hide tumors. But fatty tissue looks almost black. So, mammograms can be less accurate in women with dense breasts. Most breast cancers can be seen on a mammogram even in women who have dense breast tissue. Even if you have a normal mammogram report, you should know how your breasts normally look and feel. At this time, experts do not agree what other tests, if any, should be done in addition to mammograms in women with dense breasts.
But MRI and ultrasound can both show more findings that are not cancer. This can lead to more tests and unnecessary biopsies.
And the cost of ultrasound and MRI may not be covered by insurance. Digital breast tomosynthesis 3D mammography can also find some cancers not seen on regular mammograms. If your mammogram report says that you have dense breast tissue, talk with your provider about what this means for you. To learn more about breast cancer risk factors, see Breast Cancer Risk and Prevention.
Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, about 20 percent of cancers are missed in a mammography. No specific food can cause or prevent breast cancer. Managing Cancer Care. Breast tissue extends from the breastbone near the middle of the chest all the way to the armpit area. Subscribe to Drugs. There's some evidence that additional tests may make it more likely that breast cancer is detected in dense breast tissue.
Breast tissue that is dense. What is dense breast tissue?
Dense Breasts: Breast Cancer Risk Factors
Breast density is a proportional measure of the glandular, connective and fatty tissues within a woman's breasts. It is most commonly determined using mammography, a diagnostic test that uses low dose x-rays. Having dense breasts is not an abnormal condition; in fact, about half of all women over 40 have dense breasts. The exact relationship between breast density and breast cancer is still unknown, but having dense breasts may increase your risk of developing breast cancer.
There is no clear evidence that reducing breast density will reduce your risk of breast cancer. Talk with your doctor about breast density and discuss what impact that may have on your breast cancer screening regimen.
Breast density is a measure of the proportion of glandular, connective and fatty tissue within a woman's breasts, which is most commonly determined through mammography. The breast is made up of glandular, connective, and fatty tissues.
Breasts are considered to be dense if they have a lot of glandular and connective tissue and not much fatty tissue. On a mammogram, fatty tissue appears dark radio-lucent and the glandular and connective tissues appear white radio-opaque. Essentially, the "whiter" the breast appears on the mammogram, the denser the breast. Glandular tissue includes lobules which produce milk during lactation and ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple during breastfeeding.
Connective tissue also called fibrous tissue , supports and holds glandular tissue in place. Fatty tissue helps give breasts their size and shape. It is unclear why some women have dense breasts and others do not. In general, younger women tend to have denser breasts, and some post-menopausal women may lose breast density as a result of hormonal changes experienced during menopause.
However, some younger women may have fatty breasts while some elderly women have dense breasts. Much of what determines a woman's breast density is likely genetic. But diet, nutrition, weight gain or loss, and hormonal factors also affect a woman's breast density. The exact relationship between breast density and breast cancer is still under study with many unknowns. On a mammogram, it is easier to detect an underlying cancer in women with fatty breasts and harder to detect an underlying cancer in women with dense breasts.
This is because the dense normal tissue — which appears white on the mammogram — may hide an underlying cancer that also appears white on a mammogram. Also, having dense breasts may be associated with a small increased risk of developing breast cancer.
Radiologists who interpret mammograms subjectively determine the proportion of dense breast tissue white on mammography and non-dense fatty tissue dark on mammography using a visual scale and assign one of four levels of breast density:. The majority of women 8 out of 10 are classified in one of the two middle categories. Only a small fraction of women have either extremely dense breasts, or breasts that are almost entirely fat. For most purposes, women whose breasts are classified as heterogeneously dense or extremely dense are considered to have dense breasts.
Some states have enacted breast density notification laws that require women to be informed when a mammogram indicates that she has dense breasts. If your mammography report indicates that you have dense breasts, you should talk with your doctor about what this means for you and whether or not you should consider supplemental screening.
Other imaging tests may help find breast cancers that cannot be seen in dense breasts during a mammography exam. If you have dense breasts, you and your doctor may consider supplementing your annual mammogram with one or more of the following imaging tests to screen for breast cancer. However, most women with an average risk of breast cancer and dense breasts do not require any supplemental screening.
Breast tomosynthesis , also called three-dimensional 3-D mammography and digital breast tomosynthesis DBT , is an advanced form of breast imaging being used by many healthcare providers to examine breasts.
In breast tomosynthesis, multiple images of the breast are captured from different angles and reconstructed or "synthesized" into a three-dimensional image set. Large population studies have shown that screening with breast tomosynthesis results in improved breast cancer detection rates and fewer "call-backs" in which women are called back for additional testing because of an abnormal finding.
Early studies suggest that tomosynthesis may be beneficial in women with dense breasts. See the Breast Tomosynthesis page for more information. There are currently no recommendations for reducing breast density, and there is no clear evidence that reducing breast density will reduce breast cancer risk. Talk with your doctor about whether you have dense breasts and how that may impact your breast cancer screening regimen.
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Toggle navigation. What are dense breasts? How are dense breasts diagnosed and evaluated? How are dense breasts treated? Which test, procedure or treatment is best for me? About fifty percent of all women over 40 years old have dense breast tissue, which is normal. How are dense breasts evaluated?
Mammography is used most commonly to determine whether a woman has dense breasts. Mammography : A diagnostic test that uses low dose x-rays to examine the breasts. This type of imaging involves exposing the breasts to a small amount of ionizing radiation to obtain pictures of the inside of the breasts. See the Safety page for more information about x-rays. Radiologists who interpret mammograms subjectively determine the proportion of dense breast tissue white on mammography and non-dense fatty tissue dark on mammography using a visual scale and assign one of four levels of breast density: Almost entirely fatty breast: The breast is almost entirely composed of fatty tissue.
Scattered areas of fibroglandular density: The majority of the breast is fatty tissue with some scattered areas of dense breast tissue. Heterogeneously dense: The majority of the breast is dense glandular and fibrous tissue with some areas of less dense fatty tissue. Extremely dense: The breast is almost all dense glandular and fibrous tissue. Additional tests Other imaging tests may help find breast cancers that cannot be seen in dense breasts during a mammography exam.
See the Breast Tomosynthesis page for more information Breast ultrasound uses sound waves to capture images of areas of the breast that may be difficult to see with mammography. It can also help to determine whether a breast lump is solid or fluid. Although breast ultrasound may help to find cancer in women with dense breasts, there are a large number of false positive exams exams that show a potential abnormality that may even need a biopsy, but proves to not be cancer , and breast ultrasound does not have the same evidence supporting its benefit in screening as mammography does.
Most women with dense breasts and a low or average risk of breast cancer do not require supplemental screening with ultrasound. Breast MRI is performed using a powerful magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the inside of the breasts.
MRI may detect some smaller cancers than cannot be found on ultrasound, mammogram, or tomosynthesis, and is particularly useful in women who are at high risk of breast cancer. Send us your feedback Did you find the information you were looking for? Area code:. Phone no:. Mammography procedure. View full size with caption. Sponsored by. Please note RadiologyInfo.