Breast Density Facts
Starting 05/01/2014, New Jersey Law S-792 requires mammography reports sent to patients and their physicians to include the following statement:
“Your mammogram may show that you have dense breast tissue as determined by the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System established by the American College of Radiology. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. However, in some cases, dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram and may also be associated with a risk factor for breast cancer. Discuss this and other risks for breast cancer that pertain to your personal medical history with your health care provider. A report of your results was sent to your health care provider. You may also find more information about breast density at the website of the American College of Radiology, www.acr.org.”
• Breast density assessments will be included on all screening mammography reports sent to patients and their physicians. There are 4 categories of breast density:
A. Predominately fatty
B. Scattered fibroglandular densities
C. Heterogeneously dense
D. Extremely dense
• The same law may require some insurance carriers to pay for supplemental screening procedures if a patient’s mammogram demonstrates extremely dense breasts. Patients are advised to check their policies to determine if the supplemental screenings are covered.
• Only 10% of all women have “extremely dense breasts.”
• Women with dense breasts may benefit from supplemental screening tests.
• Additional screening options include: breast cancer risk assessment, screening MRI, ultrasound, and tomosynthesis (3D Mammography).
• Mammography is still the gold standard for early detection of breast cancer and there is no recommendation that it be replaced with another test.
• The recommendations for screening mammography are exactly the same for women with dense breasts as for the rest of the population.
Breast Density Informational & Educational Links
American College of Radiology
Society of Breast Imaging
Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool
Additional Dense Breast Information
American Cancer Society