Feature | March 02, 2015

Women's Awareness of Breast Density Varies Across the U.S.

Mayo Clinic survey finds race, income, education among factors influencing knowledge

Mayo Clinic, breast density, awareness, women's health, mammography

March 2, 2015 — Disparities in the level of awareness and knowledge of breast density exist among U.S. women, according to the results of a Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Breast density is the term used to describe the variation in dense tissue on a mammogram image. Fatty breast tissue appears more radiologically translucent than dense (fibroglandular) breast tissue. Regions of a breast that comprise fatty tissue will appear darker on a mammogram, while regions that comprise dense tissue appear whiter.

Increased breast density has been shown to mask cancers on the mammogram as well as to be associated with future risk of breast cancer. Recent legislation in several states mandates that women be given information about breast density in order to guide decisions about breast cancer screening.

Researchers conducted a national cross-sectional survey of 2,311 women ages 40 to 74 in English and Spanish. The survey response rate was 65 percent. Overall, more than half of women who responded (58 percent) had heard of breast density, 49 percent were aware that breast density affects breast cancer detection and 53 percent knew that breast density is associated with cancer risk.

When researchers examined the survey results for race and ethnicity, they found increased breast density awareness among white, non-Hispanic women relative to minority women. Increased awareness was also associated with women with higher household incomes, women with higher education, women who had received a diagnostic evaluation after a mammogram and women who received postmenopausal hormone therapy.

"The results of our study support the need for continued efforts to improve awareness of breast density and its implications on screening among women who are eligible for screening mammograms," says the study's lead author, Deborah Rhodes, M.D., a consultant in preventive medicine at Mayo Clinic.

Rhodes and colleagues also found that respondents from Connecticut were more likely than residents of other states to be aware of the potential masking effect of breast density on mammographic detection of cancer and were more likely to have discussed breast density with a healthcare provider. Connecticut was the first state to pass breast density legislation in 2009. To date, legislation mandating disclosure of breast density information has been passed in 21 states.

For more information: www.mayoclinic.org

Related Content

Lunit Unveiling AI-Based Mammography Solution at RSNA 2018
News | Mammography | November 15, 2018
Medical artificial intelligence (AI) software company Lunit will be returning to the 104th Radiological Society of...
Breast Density Advocate Nancy M. Cappello Passes Away

Nancy Cappello. Image courtesy of AreYouDense.org.

News | Breast Density | November 15, 2018 | Jeff Zagoudis, Associate Editor
Imaging Technology News extends its condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., who...
Merit Medical Completes Acquisition of Cianna Medical
News | Women's Health | November 14, 2018
Disposable device manufacturer Merit Medical Systems Inc. announced the closing of a definitive merger agreement to...
The MOZART Supra Specimen Tomosynthesis System is the latest generation of 3-D imaging for breast cancer surgery.
News | Breast Imaging | November 08, 2018
KUBTEC announced the launch of a new innovation in the treatment of breast cancer. The Mozart Supra Specimen...
Feature | Breast Imaging | November 07, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis
Breast imaging technology has experienced major growth over the last decade or so, and a new report suggests the mark
Philips’ Compressed SENSE technology helps shorten MRI exams by eliminating redundant radiofrequency signals from the acquisition phase. The software reconstructs any missing  information to maintain high image quality. (Images courtesy of Philips/University Hospital Cologne)

Philips’ Compressed SENSE technology helps shorten MRI exams by eliminating redundant radiofrequency signals from the acquisition phase. The software reconstructs any missing information to maintain high image quality. (Images courtesy of Philips/University Hospital Cologne)

Feature | Breast Imaging | November 05, 2018 | By Jeff Zagoudis
The incidence of breast cancer is rising globally, with an estimated 1 in 8 women diagnosed in their lifetime and 40,...
Deaconess Health System Chooses Sectra as Enterprise Imaging Vendor
News | Enterprise Imaging | November 02, 2018
International medical imaging information technology (IT) and cybersecurity company Sectra will install its enterprise...
Volpara Enterprise Cloud Reaches 1 Million Mammograms Stored
News | Mammography | October 31, 2018
Volpara Solutions announced that the data stored in the Volpara Enterprise cloud now exceeds 1 million mammographic...