Get the Facts: Breast Density & Breast Cancer Screening
What is breast density?
Breast tissue is a mixture of glandular tissue and fatty tissue. If you have more glandular tissue than fatty tissue, your breasts are considered dense. Dense breast tissue is NOT considered abnormal, with approximately 40% of patients having dense breasts.
Why is breast density important?
Dense breast tissue may increase your risk of breast cancer, however, it is only one component in determining your breast cancer risk. Family history, known or suspected genetic mutations and other medical diagnoses should also be considered.
How do I know if I have dense breasts?
Breast density is determined by a radiologist through mammography exams. If your mammogram shows that you have dense breasts, you will be notified in your mammogram results letter.
What are the recommendations for women with dense breasts?
The Radiology Group and Genesis Health System recommend that women with dense breasts should:
- Receive an annual mammogram with 3D mammography; and
- Discuss with a primary care provider regarding overall breast cancer risk to see if they qualify for, or desire, additional imaging or referral to a high risk clinic or genetic counselor.
What are my imaging or testing options?
Additional Screening—Breast MRI
For patients with a lifetime breast cancer risk greater than 20%, they qualify for annual screening breast MRI in addition to mammography. This exam is typically covered by insurance.
Patients with low to moderate risk of breast cancer do not require additional screening beyond an annual 3D mammogram. However, we understand that you may desire additional screening to ease any concerns. The Genesis Imaging Centers offer an abbreviated screening breast MRI. This exam is not covered by insurance and will cost $650. You must have a doctor’s order to receive this test. Call 563-421-XRAY (9729) to schedule your appointment.
Genesis Genetic Clinic
If you are concerned that you may be at high risk for breast cancer, the Genesis Genetic Clinic can help you determine your overall risk. For more information, call the clinic at 563-421-3080.
Talk to your doctor
We encourage you to speak with your primary care doctor about additional questions and concerns.
For more information, call the Genesis Center for Breast Health at 563-421-7625.