- Breast density is determined through a woman’s mammogram and described as one of four categories.
- Dense breasts are normal. In fact almost half of women over age 40 have dense breasts.
- Although normal, dense breasts are a risk factor for breast cancer. The denser the breast, the greater is the risk.
- In dense breasts, cancers can be hidden on a mammogram and may go undetected until they are larger and more likely to have spread. As density increases, the ability to detect cancer on a mammogram decreases.
- After a mammogram, adding other screening tests, such as ultrasound or breast MRI, increases detection of breast cancers in dense breasts.
Dense Breasts Hide Cancers (below)
Categories of Dense Breasts (below)
Four categories: (A) Fatty; (B) Scattered fibroglandular density; (C) Heterogeneously dense; (D) Extremely dense. Breasts which are (C) heterogeneously dense, or (D) extremely dense on mammography, are considered “dense breasts.”