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What does it mean when they tell you that you have density in a breast and you need to have an other mamogram done?

By Anonymous June 5, 2009 - 7:02am
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I had a mamogram done and they want me to have an other one done because they see density on one of the pictures.

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Hi, Anon, and thank you so much for your question.

"Density" can be caused by a lot of things -- basically, it most likely means that there's an area they cannot see well, and they want a better picture of it.

It's always scary when you're called back for a second mammogram, isn't it? This has happened to me too, more than once. But they need to get the best picture they can, maybe from a different angle.

Might I ask how old you are? The younger you are, the more dense your breasts are naturally. When you do a self-exam, you know, your breasts are not entirely smooth -- they are cobbly, sort of cottage-cheesey feeling in places, right? That's normal. Our breasts are made up of tissue, cartilege, milk glands and ducts, muscles, fat, and sometimes cysts or swollen lymph nodes. You can feel all of it from time to time and it feels lumpy and bumpy to the touch. Any or all of those can create an area of density that perhaps the mammogram machine didn't photograph well.

Here's a page that has a good diagram of the breast and what it's made of, and goes through all the many things that cause lumps:


Of course, the first thing that always springs to mind when we feel a lump or when we are asked for another mammogram is "OMG it's breast cancer." I think it's normal to be concerned about this. But here are some statistics that may make you worry less: Even if you have a lump (which you don't know yet) and even if the lump concerned your doctor enough to ask to do a biopsy, 8 out of 10 lumps reported by women turn out to be benign (non-cancerous) according to the American Cancer Society. That's 80 percent.

Does this information help a little?

When will you get your follow-up mammogram?

June 5, 2009 - 8:28am
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