What is Dense Breast Tissue?
Breast tissue consists of fatty and fibroglandular tissue. Dense breast tissue is defined as having a higher percentage of fibroglandular tissue.
How do I know if I have Dense Breast Tissue?
Breast density cannot be determined by touch, feel, or by the appearance of a breast during the exam- it can only be determined by evaluating a mammogram.
A report of your mammogram will be sent to your doctor and will mention your breast density. If you had a prior mammogram at our facility, we can tell you about your breast density based on your last mammogram.
Should I be concerned?
Dense breast tissue is not an abnormal condition; almost half of all women have dense breast tissue. However, small cancers can occasionally hide in dense breast tissue.
As you can see from the picture above, dense breast tissue appears white on mammograms. However, cancers also appear white on mammograms. So, dense breast tissue can hide cancers.
Are you required to notify me about Dense Breast Tissue?
While there is no law yet in Washington State mandating mammography facilities to notify patients of their breast density and the option for supplemental ultrasound, it is clearly on the horizon. BDC is taking a proactive stance by notifying patients of their breast density via their mammogram report and providing education and the latest technology available, including 3D Mammography and Ultrasound Breast Screening.
If I have dense breasts, do I still need a mammogram?
Yes! Advances in technology have made screening of dense breast tissue more effective – one example being a 3D Mammogram, which allows the radiologist to see the breast tissue in millimeter layers making fine details more clearly visible.
What other technologies are available for Dense Breast Tissue screening?
Another tool available for screening dense breast tissue is Ultrasound Breast Screening.
This technology is not a replacement for a mammogram, rather a supplemental tool for women who have dense breast tissue or higher than normal risk factors in their history.
Ultrasound Breast Screening takes about 15 minutes and requires no breast compression, injections, or radiation. The screening uses the same machine that is used for diagnostic or OB/GYN procedures.