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The Importance of Breast Density in Breast Cancer Detection

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The Importance of Breast Density in Breast Cancer Detection

It’s important for women to stay up to date with their routine breast cancers screenings. The average risk of a woman in the United States developing breast cancer in her life is about 13%, which is a 1 in 8 chance, according to the American Cancer Society.

Paul Reisch, M.D., medical director of the Breast Health Center at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, explains how breast density can impact cancer detection.

What is Breast Density and why is it important?

Breasts are made up of fat and glandular tissue, held together by fibrous tissue. The more glandular and fibrous tissue relative to fatty tissue, the denser the breast will appear on a mammogram.

Breast density can make cancers harder to detect. As breast density increases, mammographic sensitivity decreases.

Breast density is also an independent risk factor for the development of breast cancer. Women with extremely dense breasts are 4 times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with fatty breasts.

If a woman has dense breasts, she may consider supplemental screening in addition to mammography.

Are Dense Breasts common?

Yes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40% of women have dense breasts. Having dense breasts is normal and is not a medical condition.

How do I know if I have dense breasts?

Breast density is determined by a radiologist’s examination of a mammogram.

For more information, or to schedule an appointment, visit the Breast Health Center.