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Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute

Breast Cancer

Learn more about Breast Density


Breast Density

Your doctor has a new tool to aid in early detection of breast cancer.  The new number — a measurement of breast density — is now included in every mammogram report. Knowing the density of your breasts can help your doctor choose what kind of preventive screenings are best.

What is breast density?

Breast density is a measurement of fatty tissue vs. dense tissue. Your breast is considered dense if you have less fatty tissue and there are four categories to breast density.


Why is breast density important?


Dense breasts make it more difficult for doctors to spot cancer on mammograms. This is because dense tissue appears white on a mammogram. Lumps, both benign and cancerous, also appear white. 

How do I know if I have dense breasts?


Mammograms are still the most important tool for breast cancer screening. When a radiologist reads your mammogram, they check to see how dense your breasts are and will include this in the report to your provider.


What if I have dense breasts?


Depending on the density of your breast, your doctor may advise you to pursue more testing. This may include ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Regardless of your breast density, you should get an annual mammogram starting at age 40. Many factors can increase your risk of breast cancer, and it's important to start this important screening early.


Make an appointment


You can schedule a screening mammogram here or call (717) 544-5941.


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