Do you know your breast density level? Many women are unaware of this issue. Breast density is the term used to describe the density of one’s breasts. It is important to know your breast density because it can affect how a mammogram is read and be a risk factor for breast cancer.
What makes a breast denser? Many women have dense breasts, but don’t know what it truly means. A woman’s breast is made up of fat, glands and tissue. The more glands and tissue within the breast, the denser it is. Dense breasts are very common and normal.
A higher breast density could make it harder for a typical mammogram to illustrate the presence of cancer. The density can sometimes hide cancer, making it difficult for radiologists to recognize it. However, there are alternate procedures that can be done. 3D mammography offers a better insight into whether there is cancer present in one’s breasts. According to densebreast-info.org, a 3D mammogram can pick up on “an additional 1 to 2 cancers per thousand women screened.” For a woman with dense breasts, a 3D mammogram would be more beneficial than a 2D one because of its ability to detect masses that could be hidden.
Procedures that can be done in addition to a typical mammogram are breast MRI and breast ultrasound. These screenings are usually done after a mammogram and are good options for those with a high breast density level. These additional screenings are able to find cancer more easily than just a 2D mammography.
Breast density plays a role in how you should be screened for breast cancer, and all women should be aware of this fact. It is important for women to know whether the density of their breasts puts them at a higher risk for breast cancer, because as the breast density increases, so does the risk. According to densebreast-info.org, “Women with the densest breasts have a risk for breast cancer that is 4 times higher than that of women with the least dense (fatty) breasts.”
Here at Radiology Associates of Ridgewood, we want to help you find the right breast cancer screening. We know that a common 2D mammography may not be the most beneficial cancer screening for all women, so we offer safe and helpful alternatives.