Dense Breasts: Answers to Commonly Asked Questions - National Cancer Institute - heterogenously dense breast tissue


What Does "heterogeneously Dense Breast Tissue" Mean? | heterogenously dense breast tissue

The levels of density are: A: Almost entirely fatty indicates that the breasts are almost entirely composed of fat. B: Scattered areas of fibroglandular density indicates there are some scattered areas of density, C: Heterogeneously dense indicates that there are some areas of nondense.

Heterogeneously dense breasts is a term used in mammography to describe breasts with a higher percentage of glandular and supportive tissue than fat. It occurs in 40% of women and while normal, can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer on mammography.

Mostly fatty: Breasts have the least amount of fibrous tissue. Scattered areas of density: Most of the breast is fat, but some areas are dense. Heterogeneously dense: Most of the breast is dense tissue with some areas of fat. Extremely dense: The breasts have almost no fatty tissue.

(C) Heterogeneously dense breast tissue with many areas of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue, found in about 40% of women (D) Extremely dense breast tissue, found in about 10% of women; If you are told that you have dense breasts, it means that you have either “heterogeneously dense” (C) or “extremely dense” (D) breasts.

The patient below has “heterogeneously dense” breast tissue, which means that more than half of the tissue in her breast is dense. The ability of a mammogram to find cancer in this breast is compromised, and the patient should be sent for a breast ultrasound or MRI in addition to an annual mammogram.