If a latest mammogram confirmed you have dense breast tissue, you may possibly marvel what this suggests for your breast cancer possibility. Doctors know dense breast tissue tends to make breast cancer screening additional hard and it improves the possibility of breast cancer.

Evaluate your breast cancer possibility things with your doctor and consider your options for more breast cancer screening assessments. With each other you can come to a decision no matter if more screening assessments are suitable for you.

What is dense breast tissue?

Dense breast tissue refers to the visual appearance of breast tissue on a mammogram. It really is a regular and popular locating.

Breast tissue is composed of milk glands, milk ducts and supportive tissue (dense breast tissue), and fatty tissue (nondense breast tissue). When considered on a mammogram, females with dense breasts have additional dense tissue than fatty tissue.

On a mammogram, nondense breast tissue seems darkish and clear. Dense breast tissue seems as a strong white spot on a mammogram, which tends to make it hard to see by way of.

How do medical practitioners identify if you have dense breast tissue?

The radiologist who analyzes your mammogram determines the ratio of nondense tissue to dense tissue and assigns a level of breast density.

Amounts of density are explained making use of a results reporting system referred to as Breast Imaging Reporting and Knowledge Program (BI-RADS). The ranges of density are typically recorded in your mammogram report making use of letters. The ranges of density are:

  • A: Just about fully fatty indicates that the breasts are almost fully composed of extra fat. About 1 in ten females has this consequence.
  • B: Scattered regions of fibroglandular density indicates there are some scattered regions of density, but the vast majority of the breast tissue is nondense. About four in ten females have this consequence.
  • C: Heterogeneously dense indicates that there are some regions of nondense tissue, but that the vast majority of the breast tissue is dense. About four in ten females have this consequence.
  • D: Exceptionally dense indicates that practically all of the breast tissue is dense. About 1 in ten females has this consequence.

In typical, females with breasts that are labeled as heterogeneously dense or incredibly dense are deemed to have dense breasts. About fifty percent of females going through mammograms have dense breasts.

What results in dense breast tissue?

It really is not clear why some females have a great deal of dense breast tissue and other people do not.

You may possibly be additional possible to have dense breasts if you:

  • Are more youthful. Your breast tissue tends to turn out to be a lot less dense as you age, even though some females may possibly have dense breast tissue at any age.
  • Have a decrease overall body mass index. Women of all ages with a lot less overall body extra fat are additional possible to have additional dense breast tissue in contrast with females who are overweight.
  • Get hormone treatment for menopause. Women of all ages who choose blend hormone treatment to ease indicators and symptoms of menopause are additional possible to have dense breasts.

Why does breast density make any difference?

Obtaining dense breasts affects you in two approaches:

  • Improves the possibility that breast cancer may possibly go undetected by a mammogram, since dense breast tissue can mask a prospective cancer
  • Improves your possibility of breast cancer, even though medical practitioners aren’t certain why

What assessments are encouraged for breast cancer screening?

Most professional medical businesses propose females with an regular possibility of breast cancer consider common mammogram tests commencing at age forty and consider repeating the screening each year.

Women of all ages with dense breasts, but no other possibility things for breast cancer, are deemed to have a better possibility of breast cancer than regular. They may possibly benefit from once-a-year breast cancer screening.

Dense breast tissue tends to make it additional hard to interpret a mammogram, since cancer and dense breast tissue both equally show up white on a mammogram. Pretty dense breasts may possibly improve the possibility that cancer will not likely be detected on a mammogram.

Irrespective of concerns about detecting cancer in dense breasts, mammograms are nonetheless successful screening resources. The most popular sort of mammogram — digital mammogram — will save photos of your breasts as digital documents as a substitute of film and makes it possible for for additional detailed examination. This is additional successful at locating cancer in dense breast tissue than more mature film mammogram technologies.

Are other assessments additional successful?

You will find some proof that more assessments may possibly make it additional possible that breast cancer is detected in dense breast tissue. But more assessments carry more threats, and no more tests technique is proved to decrease the possibility of dying of breast cancer.

You and your doctor may possibly consider more or supplemental tests primarily based on your other possibility things and your particular preferences.

Supplemental assessments for breast cancer screening may possibly consist of:

  • 3-D mammogram (breast tomosynthesis). Tomosynthesis takes advantage of X-rays to gather various photos of the breast from a number of angles. The photos are synthesized by a computer system to form a 3-D image of the breast. Several mammogram centers are transitioning to include 3-D mammograms as part of the standard mammogram technologies.
  • Breast MRI. MRI takes advantage of magnets to develop photos of the breast. MRI will not use radiation. Breast MRI is encouraged for females with a pretty high possibility of breast cancer, these as those people with genetic mutations that improve the possibility of cancer.
  • Breast ultrasound. Ultrasound takes advantage of seem waves to evaluate tissue. A diagnostic ultrasound is typically used to examine regions of problem found out on a mammogram.
  • Molecular breast imaging (MBI). MBI, also recognised as breast-particular gamma imaging, takes advantage of a exclusive camera (gamma camera) that information the exercise of a radioactive tracer. The tracer is injected into a vein in your arm. Usual tissue and cancerous tissue react otherwise to the tracer, which can be found in the photos produced by the gamma camera. MBI is carried out just about every other year in addition to an once-a-year mammogram.

Each individual test has professionals and downsides. Although every test is proved to discover additional breast cancers than a mammogram, none of these more recent imaging assessments is proved to decrease the possibility of dying of breast cancer, as has been finished with the standard film mammogram.

Supplemental screening test Execs Negatives
3-D mammogram
  • Believed to detect about 1 more cancer for every 1,000 females
  • Accomplished at the exact time as a standard mammogram
  • Cuts down the need to have for staying referred to as back again for more tests of regions of problem that aren’t cancer
  • Practical in assessing dense breast tissue
  • Exposes you to more radiation, even though ranges are nonetheless pretty reduced
  • Availability is becoming additional popular
Breast MRI
  • Believed to detect about fourteen more cancers for every 1,000 females
  • No more radiation exposure
  • Commonly readily available
  • Most likely to discover regions of problem that aren’t cancer, but that need more imaging or a biopsy
  • Needs injection of distinction content
  • High-priced test that might not be protected by insurance policies except you have a pretty high possibility of cancer
Breast ultrasound
  • Believed to detect an more two-four cancers for every 1,000 females
  • No more radiation exposure
  • Commonly readily available
  • Most likely to discover regions of problem that aren’t cancer, but that need more imaging or a biopsy
  • High quality of test dependent on expertise of particular person doing the test
Molecular breast imaging
  • Believed to detect about 7 more cancers for every 1,000 females
  • Fewer possible to discover regions of problem that aren’t cancer
  • Entails injection of a radioactive tracer, which exposes you to a pretty reduced level of radiation
  • Readily available at several professional medical centers