Your Density Matters

Breast Density an independent risk factor for Breast Cancer.

Early detection.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) position paper on Mammography Screening


Every year, breast cancer kills more than 500,000 women around the world. In resource-poor settings, a majority of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at an advanced stage of disease; their five-year survival rates are low, ranging from 10-40%. In settings where early detection and basic treatment are available and accessible, the five-year survival rate for early localized breast cancer exceeds 80%.

Breast cancer can be detected early through two strategies: early diagnosis and screening.

  • Early diagnosis is based on improved public and professional awareness of signs and symptoms associated with cancer; it entails recognizing possible warning signs of cancer and taking prompt action.
  • Screening involves the systematic use of testing, such as mammography, across an asymptomatic population to detect and treat cancer or pre-cancers.

Priscilla Lynch is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor, specialising in health, medical science and consumer affairs. Based in Dublin, Ireland.  She is currently the Clinical Editor of the Medical Independent, and a regular contributor on health matters to The Herald and Irish Times Health Supplement, as well as a number of specialist and consumer publications.

She is interested in healthcare reform and policy, medical and health service politics, transparency in healthcare service spending and waiting lists, service provision cuts, value and excellence for patients, and medical innovation.

Priscilla’s recent report in the February 2020 issue of Oncology and Haematology focuses on the DENSE Trial relating to Mammographic Breast Density in Women.

Extremely dense breast tissue is a risk factor for breast cancer and limits the detection of cancer with mammography.


The use of supplemental MRI screening in women with extremely Dense Breast Tissue and normal results on mammography resulted in the diagnosis of significantly fewer interval cancers than mammography alone during a 2-year screening period. (Funded by the University Medical Center Utrecht and others; DENSE number, NCT01315015. opens in new tab.)

Cancer control: Early detection

WHO guide for effective programmes

SCREENING definition above – the systematic application of a screening test in a presumably asymptomatic population. It aims to identify individuals with an abnormality suggestive of a specific Cancer. These individuals require further investigation.

Breast Density is a risk factor for developing Breast Cancer
Breast Density is determined by your Mammogram imaging
Breast Cancer can be masked by Dense Breast tissue
Breast Ultrasound/MRI in addition to Mammography substantially improves detection of Breast Cancer in Dense Breast tissue

The dissemination of a woman’s personal Mammographic Breast Density information is critical.

Not being told her personal details in terms of her Breast Density as determined by her Mammogram can have serious consequences for any woman with Heterogeneously or Extremely Dense Breasts.

An Inform Policy for Breast Density is a requirement for Early Detection of Breast Cancer in the cohort of women with Dense Breasts. All women should be routinely informed about their Personal Mammographic Breast Density.

Be Smart about Being Dense

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