Findings on a Mammogram and Mammogram Results

For women who use menopausal hormone therapy (MHT), breast density may not decrease until they stop using MHT. MHT is also called postmenopausal hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

This image is a mammogram of a normal fatty breast, typical of older women, that does not have a lot of dense tissue. A mammogram searching for abnormal lesions, benign lumps, or breast cancer is more accurate when performed on women with non-dense breasts such as these.

Calcifications are calcium deposits within the breast tissue and they look like small white spots. A mass (a lump or tumor) may also be noted on a mammogram as an irregularly shaped shadow. A mass can also be non-cancerous, such as a fluid-filled cyst or a solid benign tumor (fibroadenoma).

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After menopause, breast density may decrease, making mammograms easier to read.

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Breast cancer and some benign breast conditions are denser than fat and appear a lighter shade of gray or white on a mammogram.

Fibroadenomas and cysts are benign breast masses that can appear in fibrocystic breast tissue. These can occur alone or in groups and show up on mammograms as a dense (white) mass.

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Calcifications are not related to the amount of calcium in your diet [31].

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Dense breast tissue can make abnormal findings hard to see on a mammogram. Screening tools are under study for women with dense breasts.

Some, but not all, radiologists may divide this category further into 4A, 4B and 4C based on how suspicious the findings are for cancer (4A look the least like cancer).

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Architectural distortion describes a distorted shape or pattern of breast tissue on a mammogram. However, no mass is seen.

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There are no special recommendations or breast cancer screening guidelines for women with dense breasts. However, your health care provider may suggest other types of breast imaging in addition to regular mammograms.

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Breast density may decrease after menopause in both women who go through natural menopause and younger women who are in menopause after surgery to remove the ovaries (oophorectomy).

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This category is only for findings already confirmed as cancer with a biopsy.

Mammograms can also assess breast density, which shows the distribution of fibrous and glandular tissues in the breast versus fatty tissue. Dense breasts are common, and they are associated with a higher risk of breast cancer. Women without a history of breast problems usually have a screening mammogram performed. For women with a history of breast problems, a targeted mammogram may be performed to better evaluate a particular area of the breast. Sometimes special mammograms may be requested by your doctor.

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