What are dense breasts? Women are increasingly asking this question as the topic of breast density receives attention from the media, state legislatures and Congress.

On April 1, 2013 California became the fifth state to require imaging centers to notify women if they have dense breast tissue (as revealed in a screening mammogram). Approximately 50 percent of women who get a screening mammogram now receive a mammography report indicating they have dense breast tissue. Mammography reports for patients with dense breast tissue will also relay that it may be more difficult to detect potentially cancerous lesions in their screening mammogram.

What are Dense Breasts | Desert Health NewsAs part of our educational efforts to help answer questions such as what are dense breasts, Breastlink recently published an article in the Desert Health News about breast density. We encourage you to read the entire article. Here is a snippet that addresses the issue of what are dense breasts:

What are Dense Breasts?

The breasts are composed of glandular tissue and ligaments that create the dense tissue within the breasts. These appear white on a mammogram. Breasts are also composed of fat cells, which appear black on mammogram. When the dense breast tissue exceeds the fat density the breasts are dense. About 50 percent of women have dense breasts. Regardless of size or shape, breasts that are dense have an overall increase in risk of developing breast cancer than breasts that are predominantly fatty.

The article addresses additional topics, such as:

  • How is breast density determined?
  • How does breast density affect screening?
  • Which imaging study is best?

What are Dense Breasts – Additional Information Resources

We hope the following links are helpful for additional information. Please do not hesitate to contact one of our centers if you wish to learn more about breast density as a breast cancer risk factor, our risk assessment program or if you would like to schedule a screening mammogram.