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  • Writer's pictureBreast Screening Center

What Are Dense Breasts?

Updated: Jun 27, 2019

Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibrous and glandular tissue and fatty tissue. Your breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fat.

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Density may decrease with age, but there is little, if any, change in most women.

What you need to know about dense breasts

Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram, who will identify the density into one of four mammographic densities.

The four categories consist of:

1.Almost all fatty

2. scattered areas of density

3. mostly dense

4. almost entirely dense

Having dense breast tissue may increase your risk of breast cancer. Dense breasts also make it more difficult for doctors to spot cancer on mammograms.

Dense breasted patients still require a yearly mammogram screening. Many cancers are seen on mammograms even if you have dense breast tissue, and yearly screenings save lives.

When you get a mammogram, the radiologist will assign your screening to one of the categories.

Your doctor should be able to tell you whether you have dense breasts based on where you fall on the density scale.

If you have dense breasts, we may recommend getting an ultrasound instead of a mammogram.

Your doctor should be able to walk you through this process in order to discuss if further testing is needed.

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