Dense breast tissue has been a hot topic over the last several years. Many women are told they have “dense breast tissue,” but what does that really mean?
If you’ve been told that you have dense breast tissue, it means that you have more “fibrous” breast tissue instead of “fatty” breast tissue. The reason this is important is because cancer is more difficult to detect in dense breast tissue. If you’ve been told that you have “extremely dense breast tissue,” your risk of developing breast cancer is increased 4 to 6 times. So, knowing your breast tissue density can help us develop a personalized plan in your breast cancer screening.
How do you know if you have dense breast tissue? In Tennessee, our radiologists are required to send you a letter if they see that you have dense breast tissue on your mammogram.
If you have very dense breast tissue, you may benefit from other screening methods in addition to, or in place of, regular digital mammography. 3-D Mammography, or tomosynthesis, is one tool that we use at the MMC Comprehensive Breast Center to capture a more detailed image of the breast tissue. 3-D mammography reconstructs a 3-D image of the breast by obtaining multiple images of the breast from many different angles. Ultrasound is another important device that we use to help us detect cancer in cases of increased breast density. We also offer breast MRI, which can show very detailed images of the breast and can be helpful, especially in patients whose lifetime risk for developing breast cancer is over 20%.
If you have any questions about breast density or breast-related health, please call the MMC Comprehensive Breast Center at 615-867-8040 or visit mmclinic.com/CBC.