Breast Density on Mammogram: Relation between Breast Density & Cancer

Many women are now more aware of the risks of developing breast cancer and hence more women are now having mammograms. However, very little is understood about that radiologic finding such as breast density and its relationship to cancer. Understanding what a mammogram is and what it looks out for will help women understand the importance of this diagnostic procedure.

Breast Density on Mammogram

  • Breast density has nothing to do with breast size.
  • Breast density refers to the amount of the white area that can be seen on a mammogram.
  • Breasts appear black on a mammogram.
  • The balance between white and black in a mammogram helps reflect the amount of glandular tissue, fat, and connective tissue present.
  • There are many causes for breast density to increase such as heredity and age.

Breast Density Changes

  • It has been studied that changes in breast density also reflects the risk of breast cancer.
  • Studies have shown that women with denser breasts are more at risk of developing breast cancer.
  • A mammogram that shows a high density breast indicates that there is more tissue than fat.
  • A mammogram that shows a low density breast indicates that there is more fat than tissue.
  • When a mammogram shows a dense breast, the doctor recommends other diagnostic tests to be performed.
  • This is because breast density is not solely used to assess the risk of breast cancer.
  • Other screening tests recommended for women with dense breasts include digital mammography, breast ultrasound, and breast MRI.

How to Reduce Breast Density

  • Several measures have been studied and used to help reduce breast density in women.
  • Changing dietary intake has been shown to reduce breast density.
  • The intake of multivitamins has also been reported to reduce breast density.
  • There are also certain medications available in the market that can be prescribed to help reduce breast density in women.

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