breast imaging, breast density, breast cancer, women's health, radiology

Doctors have found that breast density is a key factor in cancer screenings. Breasts are made up of fibro-glandular tissue and fatty tissue. The greater the proportion of fibro-glandular tissue as compared to fatty tissue, the more dense the breast. We know breast density can be confusing, especially when it comes to cancer screenings. let us help you find your way through what screening may be best for you. 

Does breast density affect cancer treatments? 

Breast density has no bearing on cancer treatments; however, it can impact the cancer screening. When doctors review mammograms, the fatty tissue appears gray or black, while the fibro-glandular tissue appears white. This is problematic because cancers also appear white on the film.

How do you know if you have dense breasts?

The radiologist judges the density from the mammogram on a scale of one (least dense) to four (most dense), using the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS) developed by the AmericanCollege of Radiology. And your density can change depending on factors such as age, weight loss or gain, and whether the woman is on hormone replacement therapy.

What type of screening is better for a person with dense breasts? 

Your radiologist may recommend other screening in addition to the standard mammogram. One such additional test is 3-D mammography, or tomosynthesis, which takes multiple images of your breast, one millimeter at a time. In contrast, the standard mammogram only takes one image. These machines have reduced false positives (when you are recalled to further examine a spot that ends up being benign) by as much as 20 percent, according to Dr. Monica Yepes, a breast radiologist at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

What are some other options for screening? 

Other options your doctor may suggest depending on your age and family history a bilateral ultrasound or a chest MRI. These options can identify irregularities, but they are not good at detecting if spots are malignant or benign, which means more tests for the patient. Make sure to talk with your doctor about breast density and together you will find the best screening options for your health.

If you think you have dense breasts and need to be screened, contact Advanced Imaging Centers!  We provide tons of imaging procedures for people with dense breasts, make your appointment with us today!