Understanding breast density: what you need to know

Published: Wednesday, April 3, 2024
Kourtney Farrow, RT (R)(M)
Manager of Mammography, Imaging Center Gainesville

Breast density is something that often perplexes and concerns many individuals, yet it’s crucial to understand its implications for breast health and cancer detection. In this blog, we delve into the topic of breast density, unraveling its meaning and significance.

What is breast density?

Breast tissue is composed of fibrous, glandular and fatty tissue. Your breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fat. Breast density can vary among women of different ages. Density may decrease with age, but there is little, if any, change in most women.

Why does breast density matter?

Having dense breast tissue may increase your risk of breast cancer. Dense breast tissue can make it more difficult for the radiologist to spot the cancer because it can blend in with the dense tissue.

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

The radiologist reading your mammogram will assess your density from the mammogram images, and classify your breast density as mostly fatty, scattered fibroglandular tissue, heterogeneously dense, or extremely dense. This will be dictated on your mammography report and your result letter will inform you if you have dense breast or not.

Do I still need a mammogram if I have dense breast tissue?

Yes. A mammogram is the only medical imaging screening test proven to reduce breast cancer deaths. Many cancers are seen on mammograms even if you have dense breast tissue.

What should I do if I have breast density?

Talk to your doctor to see if an additional screening exam might be right for you.
The Imaging Center of Northeast Georgia Medical Center performs 3D mammography on all patients to help find any tumors, abnormalities or cancers that can’t be seen on a 2D mammogram. We also offer screening breast MRI which can help find cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram.

Early detection saves lives

Breast density is a complex, yet vital, aspect of breast health and cancer detection. By understanding breast density and its implications, individuals can make informed decisions about their breast cancer screening and risk management strategies. Through continued research, advocacy and patient education, we can strive towards improved outcomes for breast cancer detection and prevention.

Learn more

Due for a mammogram? Scheduling one is easy! Request an appointment using our online form or call 770-525-8273.