You may have come upon the descriptor of “subtle benign appearing density” in reference to mammogram imaging.
“This is not a technical term for reporting mammographic findings,” says Mylaine Riobe, MD, founder of Riobe Institute of Integrative Medicine.
Dr. Riobe, who’s board certified in ob/gyn and integrative medicine, is the author of “The Answer to Cancer” and has over 15 years’ experience using integrative techniques to treat diverse patients.
“The term density describes a ‘radiopaque’ or a lesion that blocks the X-ray penetration on a mammogram.
“Benign appearing densities have distinct appearances that are known to be seen in benign lesions. There are certain patterns of calcifications which are considered benign as well.”
Dense Breast Tissue and Mammograms
Does your mammogram report indicate that you have “dense” breasts? If not sure, ask your doctor what the last report says.
The benign tissue of very dense breasts appears white on a mammogram and may obscure a malignant mass.
If you’re told your breasts have heterogenous or extreme density, you should discuss with your gynecologist screening options for breast cancer.
This should include information about a type of mammography called tomosynthesis or 3D.
This technology is more sensitive to spotting suspicious masses than is the more standard 2D mammogram.
Think of it this way: A 2D mammogram is like standing at the edge of a forest and trying to visually locate a bird perched somewhere inside on a tree branch.
Tomosynthesis, on the other hand, is like flying over the entire landscape of trees to visually locate the bird.
If your medical provider does not offer 3D mammograms — even if you have dense breasts — you can have them done at an independent imaging clinic and then have the results sent to your gynecologist. The out of pocket expense will cover your peace of mind.