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Why does it matter if my breasts are dense?


Breast contains fibrous glandular, and fatty tissue.  Some women have more fat than breast tissue, while other have more breast tissue than fat.  Breast that have higher proportion of the glandular tissue are described as “dense”.

Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breast.  The radiologist who looks at your mammogram classifies breast composition into one of four categories of increasing density: predominantly fatty, scattered fibroglandular tissue, heterogeneously dense or extremely dense.  If you were told that you have dense breast, it means that you have either “heterogeneously dense” (C) or extremely dense” (D) breast.

The presence of dense tissue may make it more difficult to detect abnormalities in the breast and may also be associated with an increase risk of breast cancer.  Dense tissue appears white on a mammogram.  Since lumps, cancerous and non-cancerous, also appear white, they can be obscured on the mammogram.

If you have dense breasts, please talk to your doctor.  Together you can decide if supplemental screening exams can benefit you, like using tomosynthesis (as known as 3D mammogram), breast ultrasound, and MRI.

For more information, please visit website of Breast Cancer Foundation.

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