About Dense Breasts

Dense breasts (or dense breast tissue) are very common. Dense breasts have less fatty tissue and more connective tissue compared to breasts that are not dense. Because of this, they might look different on a mammogram.

In New York, there is a law that says a doctor or facility that provides mammograms must notify women if they are found to have dense breasts.

This notification is important because dense breasts can make it harder to see signs of cancer on a mammogram. Women with dense breast tissue also have a higher risk of breast cancer as compared to women with less dense breast tissue. It is unclear at this time why dense breast tissue is linked to breast cancer risk.

At this time there is no agreement by experts about whether other tests should be done in addition to mammograms in women with dense breasts.

Women with dense breasts should talk to their health care provider about their other risk factors for breast cancer to decide if more screening tests, such as a screening ultrasound or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), are needed.