Breast Density

Know your body. Understand your options.

Breast density is common. Almost half of all women have varying degrees of dense breast tissue. It simply means you have a higher ratio of glandular to fatty tissue.

However, early detection with mammography can be a challenge for women with dense breasts. Glandular tissue appears white on a mammogram, but so does cancer. A small tumor is easier to spot on the darker background of a fatty breast mammogram, but more difficult on the white background of a glandular or fibrous breast mammogram.

Mammography is the gold standard for breast screening, and eventually, a mammogram would find these cancers when they grow larger over time. However, since doctors and women’s health advocates universally agree that earlier detection is the key to survival, women with dense breasts require a supplemental screening option, such as Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (ABUS).

What is a dense breast?

Breast tissue is made up of varying mixtures of fatty tissues, glandular components, lymphatics and blood vessels.

Breast tissue is categorized by mammography in four classifications:

A. Predominantly Fat
breast fatty

B. Fat With Some Fibroglandular Densities
breast scattered

C. Heterogeneously Dense
breast heterogeneous

D. Extremely Dense
breast extreme

In case you’re wondering, you can’t know that you have dense breasts just by how they feel; breast density must be measured during a mammogram. If you have dense breasts, you will be notified on your mammogram report.

Why haven’t I heard of breast density before?

Until recently, most women were unaware of the issue of breast density. Two things have happened in recent years to create greater awareness of this issue. First, advances in technology have made supplemental screening practical and effective. Second, the tireless work of breast density advocates and their systematic effort to pass legislation in every state to require that women
be informed of their breast density status. In fact, Florida’s breast density law took effect in July, 2018.

Radiology & Imaging Specialists (RIS) has taken a proactive stance on this issue, leading the way in notifying and educating women who may be at risk, as well as providing supplemental forms of screening for breast cancer detection.

Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound (ABUS) – An excellent supplemental screening option for women with dense breasts

ABUS screening

ABUS is safe, effective and inexpensive. For women with dense breasts, it is can help detect more cancers— and smaller cancers— than mammography alone. Ultrasound has been used effectively in breast cancer diagnoses for years.

Clinical studies have shown that ultrasound screening significantly increases the ability to find smaller, earlier stage cancers before they spread to the lymph nodes. These studies have demonstrated that, when combined with mammography, automated whole breast ultrasound screening effectively doubles the detection rate of breast cancer.

In addition, ultrasound is comfortable, convenient, and does not expose you to any additional radiation.

Is ABUS right for me?

This supplemental examination to mammography is ideal for women who have dense breast tissue as determined by your most recent mammogram. It is safe for women with breast implants, as well as women who are pregnant, may be pregnant or who are nursing. If you would like to know more, just ask our patient representative. A prescription from your physician is required for this exam.



To learn more or to make an appointment, please call 863-688-2334.