If you have further questions, our FAQs below are a good place to start.
Q: What exactly is dense breast tissue?
A: The breasts are basically made of two types of tissue - fatty tissue and fibroglandular tissue. These two types of tissue are mixed in varying degrees throughout the breasts. Women with dense breast tissue have a higher percentage of fibroglandular tissue and women with fatty breast tissue have a higher percentage of fatty tissue. There is not one "normal" amount of dense or fatty tissue for a woman.
Q: Why do I have dense breast tissue, and can I change this?
A: You are just "built" this way, and your breast density will probably slowly decrease with time. Some medications, such as hormone replacement therapy, could increase your breast density. If you are on or considering using hormone replacement therapy, it is a good idea to discuss the risks and benefits of its use with your health care provider.
Q: Does having dense breasts mean I will probably get breast cancer?
A: No! But, having dense breast tissue can increase your risk for breast cancer slightly. There are many things that can increase your risk of breast cancer, and breast density is just one of them. Half of the women screened have dense breast tissue, but the great majority of women will not develop breast cancer. In fact, most women with dense breasts are not at high risk for developing breast cancer. If you have concerns about your risk, you should discuss this with your health care provider.
Q: If my mammogram is difficult to read because of dense breasts, why should I get one?
A: Mammograms are not perfect, but they have been proven time and time again to save lives, even in women with dense breasts. Fortunately, Vancouver Radiology offers 3D mammography (also known as tomosynthesis), which can help make a mammogram easier to read and can help find cancers that might otherwise be hidden in dense breasts on regular 2D mammograms.
For more information on breast density, please visit the following sites: