A mammogram can determine whether your breasts are dense or not. Breast density reflects the amount of fibrous and glandular tissue in a woman’s breasts compared with the amount of fatty tissue.
Are dense breasts common?
Dense breasts are common; they are not considered an abnormal breast condition or a disease. However, dense breasts are a risk factor for breast cancer. Women with dense breasts have a higher risk of breast cancer than women with fatty breasts. Nearly half of all women 40 and older who get mammograms are found to have dense breast tissue. However, the results of the mammogram are based on different density levels.
What are the different levels of breast density?
- Level A – Almost entirely fatty –indicates that the breasts are almost entirely composed of fat; about 1 in 10 women has this result.
- Level B – Scattered areas of fibro glandular density indicate some scattered areas of density, but most of the breast tissue is non-dense; about 4 in 10 women have this result.
- Level C – Heterogeneously dense indicates some areas of non-dense tissue, but most breast tissue is dense. About 4 in 10 women have this result.
- Level D – Extremely dense indicates that nearly all the breast tissue is dense. About 1 in 10 women has this result.
What causes breast density?
Breast density is often inherited, but other factors can influence it, such as:
- Having a lower body mass index. Women with less body fat are more likely to have more dense breast tissue compared with women who are obese.
- Taking hormone therapy for menopause. Women who take combination hormone therapy to relieve signs and symptoms of menopause are more likely to have dense breasts.
- Ageing and having children, your breast tissue tends to become less dense as you age, though some women may have dense breast tissue at any age.
Can you reduce breast density?
A dense breast tissue diet can help decrease breast density and have healthy breasts. The diet recommends the following:
- Eliminating caffeine.
- Decreasing or eliminating red meat.
- Increasing fiber to 45 mg per day.
- Drinking green tea.
- Avoiding alcohol consumption.
- Eating vegetables that contain carotenoids, such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
Does breast density cause breast cancer?
Dense breasts are a risk factor for breast cancer. Unfortunately, breast cancer can’t be prevented, but there are steps that you can take to help detect it earlier before it spreads, such as:
- Becoming familiar with your breasts through breast self-exam.
- Limiting the amount of alcohol to no more than one drink a day if you choose to drink.
- Exercising most days of the week.
- Limiting postmenopausal hormone therapy.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Choosing a healthy diet.
When to consult a doctor?
Consult an Intercare doctor if you notice any of the following:
- Water coming out of your nipples.
- A hard lump near your underarm.
- Dimples or ridges on your breast skin.
- Itching and scales.
It is essential for women to have annual breast cancer screenings; ask your doctor when you can begin your exams and tests, such as clinical breast exams and mammograms.