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Screening mammography has made tremendous inroads in reducing the mortality rate from breast cancer over the past 30 years. There is a estimated 30% reduction in breast cancer mortality due to screening, and the earlier detection of breast cancers.

Mammography has been unquestionably shown to save lives, but it’s not perfect and so we are constantly looking for new ways to improve our service to women. Norwalk Radiology and MammographyCenter is excited to announce that we have become the first in Fairfield County to use a new FDA approved computer based program to provide a computerized and objective quantitavive measurement of breast density.

Breast density is the percentage of fibroglandular tissue that exists in the breast. Density has historically been measured visually, by radiologists comparing the light and dark parts of a mammogram,. This new software, which does not involve any additional testing or radiation dose, generate mathematical, computer-driven breast density measures based on the true 3D properties of a woman’s breasts. This is known as volumetric breast density.

MedicalResearchers have been looking at incorporating breast density into breast cancer risk prediction models, thus avoiding the confusion and inaccuracy that is inherent in radiologists subjective assessment. This may lead to imprecise risk assessments. Volumetric measurements, which determine the actual amount of dense tissue in the breast, are proving to be invaluable for breast cancer risk studies.

Importance of Density
It is estimated that over 40 percent of women in the US who are of mammogram screening age have dense breast tissue. The volume and distribution of this dense breast tissue plays a major role in the sensitivity of screening mammography as well as the individual patient’s risk of developing breast cancer:

  • Mammography is estimated to be only 48% effective in dense breasts, compared to 98% effective in fatty breasts
  • Women with extremely dense breasts are twice as likely to develop breast cancer as an average density woman.
  • The risk associated with extremely dense breasts is similar to the risk associated with a family history of breast cancer in a mother, sister, or daughter.
density-chart Why is it Important? It is estimated that more than 40 percent of women in the US who are of mammogram screening age have dense breast tissue.
  • 10% of women having breasts that are almost entirely fatty (BI-RADS A)
  • 40% having scattered areas of fibroglandular densities (BI-RADS B)
  • 40% having heterogeneously dense breasts (BI-RADS C), and
  • 10% having extremely dense breasts (BI-RADS D).
Norwalk Radiology & Mammography Center
148 East Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06851 • TEL: 203.838.4886
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