Breast Density Law

Breast density is a way to describe the composition of a woman’s breasts. This measure compares the area of breast and connective tissue seen on a mammogram to the area of fat. Breast and connective tissue is denser than fat and this difference shows up on a mammogram.

After looking at your mammogram, one of our radiologists may record breast density using BIRADS® or a similar measure.

Understanding Dense Breast Tissue

As of April 1st, 2013 Breast Imaging Providers are mandated by the State of California to inform patients who have certain categories of dense breast tissue of their breast density in written form. Information is provided to digital screening mammogram patients to raise awareness and to encourage an open discussion with their physicians to determine what is the best screening option.

High breast density means there is a greater amount of breast and connective tissue compared to fat. This tissue generally appears white or gray.

Low breast density means there is a greater amount of fat compared to breast and connective tissue. This tissue generally appears black.

BI-RADS - Breast Imaging Reporting and Database System

BI-RADS® is a quality assurance guide designed by the American College of Radiology and various cooperating agencies used by radiologists to standardize breast imaging reporting and facilitate outcome monitoring. BI-RADS® serves as a comprehensive guide providing standardized breast imaging terminology, report organization and assessment structure, as well as a classification system for mammography, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the breast.

The following categories are used when reporting mammogram findings.

  • Need Additional Imaging Evaluation and/or Prior Mammograms for Comparison – Additional imaging and/or prior images are needed before a final assessment can be assigned.
  • Negative – Routine annual screening mammography (for women over age 40)
  • Benign Finding(s) – Routine annual screening mammography (for women over age 40)
  • Probably Benign Finding – Initial Short-Interval Follow-Up Suggested
  • Suspicious Abnormality – Biopsy Should Be Considered
  • Highly Suggestive of Malignancy – Requires biopsy or surgical treatment
  • Known Biopsy - Proven Malignancy – Definitive therapy to be determined

Source: The American College of Radiology BI-RADS ATLAS and MQSA: Frequently Asked Questions