How does increased breast density affect the sensitivity of mammography?

Updated: Jan 31, 2017
  • Author: Muhammad Neaman Siddique, MBBS; Chief Editor: Eugene C Lin, MD  more...
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Answer

The presence of dense breast tissue not only poses difficulty in reading the mammogram, but it has been recognized as an independent risk factor for breast cancer. A significant association exists between longitudinal increases or decreases in breast density detected on serial screening mammography and an increased or decreased risk of breast cancer, respectively. [10] Digital mammography has been found out to be more sensitive in women with dense breasts and should be preferred over film mammography to screen these women (see the image below). [11]

Normal mammograms in a 40-year-old woman show dens Normal mammograms in a 40-year-old woman show dense breast parenchyma.

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