A correction was published in January for this title. Click here to view the correction. Committee on Gynecologic Practice This document reflects emerging clinical and scientific advances as of the date issued and is subject to change.
Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more non-fatty tissue compared to breasts that aren't dense. Dense breasts have more gland tissue that makes and drains milk and supportive tissue also called stroma that surrounds the gland. Breast density can be inherited, so if your mother has dense breasts, it's likely you will, too.
Breast density is a measure used to describe mammogram images. Breasts are made up of breast tissue the milk ducts and lobules, which may be called glandular tissue and fat. Connective tissue helps hold everything place.
Dense breast tissue is detected on a mammogram. Additional imaging tests are sometimes recommended for women with dense breasts. If a recent mammogram showed you have dense breast tissue, you may wonder what this means for your breast cancer risk. Doctors know dense breast tissue makes breast cancer screening more difficult and it increases the risk of breast cancer.
Breasts are made up of several different components that include fat, glandular tissue the milk ducts and lobules and connective tissue, which helps hold everything in place. High breast density means there is a greater amount of glandular and connective tissue compared to fat. Low breast density means there is a greater amount of fat compared to glandular and connective tissue.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Although mammography is well known to be a powerful screening tool in the detection of early breast cancer, it is imperfect, particularly for women with dense breasts. In women with dense breast tissue, the sensitivity of mammography is reduced.
Breasts are the same in men and women until puberty. They also have connective tissue, which includes adipose fatty tissue. These tissues make up the shape of your breasts.
Some mammogram reports sent to women mention breast density. Your health care provider can also tell you if your mammogram shows that you have dense breasts. In some states, women whose mammograms show heterogenously dense or extremely dense breasts must be told that they have dense breasts in the summary of the mammogram report that is sent to patients sometimes called the lay summary.
I did what the medical field and the countless number of cancer advocacy groups told me. I ate healthy, did monthly self exams, exercised daily, had yearly mammograms AND had no first-degree relative with breast cancer. Little did I know at the time that there was information about my health which impacts my life outcomes that was being kept from me — the patient — and others like me.