What does it mean when your breast density changes?

Breast density changes with age, for example. On average, older women have lower density breast tissue than do younger women. The greatest change in density occurs during the menopause years. Breast density also changes with certain types of hormone therapies, such as hormone treatments for menopause.

What is breast density classification?

Radiologists use mammogram images to grade breast tissue based on the proportion of dense to nondense tissue. According to the BI-RADS reporting system, the levels are (from left to right) A: almost entirely fatty, B: scattered areas of fibroglandular density, C: heterogeneously dense, and D: extremely dense.

Is it better to have dense or not dense breast tissue?

Women with dense breasts have a higher chance of getting breast cancer. The more dense your breasts are, the higher your risk. Scientists don’t know for sure why this is true. Breast cancer patients who have dense breasts are not more likely to die from breast cancer than patients with non-dense (fatty) breasts.

Can breast density change from year to year?

Given the variability of these factors, breast density reporting can fluctuate year to year. For example, if your weight fluctuates, one year a woman may be told she has dense breasts, and the next year that they are not.

What are the different types of breast density?

The BI-RADS classification system identifies four levels of breast density in keeping with relative increases in the amount of levels of fibro-glandular tissue. Breast Density: BI-RADS type 1. The first ‘type’ classification of breast density is of almost entirely fat. Glandular tissue is less than 25%.

What does very dense mean on a mammogram report?

After a mammogram, a woman may receive her report with the breast density in plain English rather than the BI-RADS types. ‘Very dense’: on a report is probably type 4, meaning 75% to 100% ‘Moderately‘ or ‘somewhat’ dense, most likely refers to category III, or 50% to 75% density

Is there a link between breast density and breast cancer?

In terms of breast cancer risk and breast density, this ought to be a positive thing. However, some hormone treatments work against this. Women who take estrogen to counter the effects of menopause run the risk of an increase in breast density and faster breast cancer growth if a tumor is already developing.

Can a breast self exam show dense breast tissue?

Only a mammogram can show if a woman has dense breasts. Dense breast tissue cannot be felt in a clinical breast exam or in a breast self-exam. For this reason, dense breasts are sometimes referred to as mammographically dense breasts.