All breasts are not the same. Some are fatty, some are dense, and some are a mix.
Breast Density – What does it mean?
Breasts are made of fat and breast tissue. Some women have more fat than breast tissue, while others have more breast tissue than fat. When there is more breast tissue, the breast is considered dense. On a mammogram, dense tissue looks white. Since masses of lumps also appear white on a mammogram, a suspicious lump may be masked by the dense breast tissue.
Dense breast tissue is also linked with an increase in the risk of developing breast cancer. Women with extremely dense breast tissue have a four to six times greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not have dense breast tissue, according to the New England Journal of Medicine (Boyd et al, 2007;356:227-36). Screening breast ultrasound helps physicians look differently at dense breast tissue.
Screening Breast Ultrasound for cancer screening.
Invision Sally Jobe is among the first diagnostic imaging centers in the United States to offer the newest form of breast ultrasound cancer screening. Used as an adjunctive examination to mammography, this FDA-approved technology is ideal for women who have:
- Dense breast tissue – approximately 40% of all women
- Breast implants
- A family history of breast cancer or a previous breast biopsy showing pre-cancer or cancer
- Lumpy or fibrocystic breasts
Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram and classifies the density into one of four categories:
- Almost entirely fatty
- Scattered fibroglandular densities
- Heterogeneously dense
- Extremely dense
Your doctor will tell you if you have dense breasts, based on your mammogram’s classification on the density scale.
An added measure of confidence
For the 40% of women who have dense breast tissue, mammograms alone may not be enough to find breast cancer. Studies have shown that some cancers can be missed with mammography in women with dense breasts. When added to an annual screening mammogram, screening breast ultrasound may find more small cancers than mammography alone.
The screening breast ultrasound procedure requires a minimum of 25 minutes and minimal compression. The exam uses no ionizing radiation. Unlike other breast ultrasound exams, screening breast ultrasound is intended to scan the entire breast, not just specific regions. For that reason, it is useful as a whole breast screening tool.
Download and learn
Learn more about our mammogram screening services, and how we can help you by downloading our breast cancer screening brochures right here.