What are dense breasts an why is it significant?
All breasts contain 3 different types of tissue – glandular, connective and fatty tissue. Breasts are considered to be more or less ‘dense’ depending on the relative amounts of these three tissues. Denser breasts contain a higher proportion of glandular and connective tissue, and lower amounts of fatty tissue.
Younger women generally have denser breasts, but around half of women aged 40 and over will also be found to have dense breasts. Having children and getting older (50 years and older) will generally result in women’s breasts getting less dense.
Why is this significant?
Mammograms can’t tell the difference between dense breast issue and DCIS lesions, which is why routine mammography screenings are only recommend for women aged 50 and over. This significantly limits the effectiveness of mammograms, reducing current routine screening to women over the age of 50. However, other screening methods, like Thermography are not affected by dense breasts and will indicate physiological changes in women’s breasts at any age, and any degree of density.