Breast Density & Breast Cancer Screening

What is breast density?

Your breasts are made up of fibrous, glandular and fatty tissue. Breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue, but not much fat. Breast density may decrease with age, but there is little, if any, change in the majority of women.

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

When you have a mammogram, the radiologist who reads it will determine whether or not you have dense breasts. There are four categories of mammographic density. The radiologist will assign your mammogram to one of those categories. Your doctor should be able to tell you if you have dense breasts based on where you fall on the density scale.

 

10 percent of women have level 1

40 percent of women have level 2

40 percent of women have level 3

10 percent of women have level 4

 

Why is breast density important?

If you have dense breast tissue it may increase your risk of getting breast cancer. In the past, dense breasts made it more difficult to detect cancer on mammograms because it appears white. Lumps, both benign and cancerous appear white as well, so it was difficult to detect cancer. Advanced technology using low dose 3-D mammography overcomes that obstacle and has been extremely useful for women who have dense breast tissue.

What should I do if I have dense breasts?

At this time, there are no special screening guidelines for women with dense breasts. If you have dense breasts, you should make sure your mammogram is performed at a facility that utilizes low-dose, 3-D mammography. It is also important that an experienced, board-certified, breast imaging specialist reads your mammogram. If you are over the age of 40 you do not need a prescription for a mammogram; you may self-refer. The Affordable Care Act mandates screening mammography as a covered benefit (no copay or deductible). Contact your insurance carrier for your plan’s benefits. All major insurances are accepted. Private pay rates are available.

The Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center combines the latest technology with personal attention and support. Our state-of-the-art breast center has the full continuum of breast services under one roof in a building designed to provide patients with feng shui design and a spa-like aesthetic, including a healing and meditation garden.

Services and features include:

  • 3D mammography with the lowest possible radiation dose
  • Board-certified, fellowship-trained radiologists who read more than 10,000 mammograms each year
  • Wide bore MRI for easy patient access and comfort
  • Innovative Caring Suite technology that enable patients having an MRI to customize the lighting, music and select soothing images that can be projected onto the ceiling
  • Genetic testing and counseling for cancer risk
  • Patient navigators to provide information, resources and personalized support
  • Convenient location with plenty of parking

For more information or to schedule a mammogram, call 561-263-4414.