Learn About Breast Density & Breast MRI Exams

    Over the past several years, the topic of women’s breast density and its implications for detecting breast cancer has made the news. Breast density is significant as it determines what can be caught on an ordinary mammogram. For women with denser breast tissue, mammograms are less effective in spotting possible cancerous or pre-cancerous cells.

    RMI has been alerting women about breast density for many years, and has advocated telling patients their score. In fact, testimony from Dr. David Strahle, one of RMI’s co-owners, played a part in the writing and passage of Public Act 517 signed into law in January 2015. That law requires doctors to notify patients they have dense breast tissue and that such tissue increases breast cancer risk. It also states patients should discuss with their doctor if supplemental tests are recommended.

    This is where Breast MRI exams come in.

    An MRI, short for Magnetic Resonance Imaging, uses a magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of the body, without using radiation. Thus, it is a safe and powerful tool for doctors to diagnose patients. For women whose breast tissue is extremely dense or heterogeneously dense, it may pick up areas of concern missed by a mammogram.

    Mammograms can miss 50% or more of cancers in women with highly dense breast tissue. That’s a high miss rate, and our radiologists strongly encourage women with dense breasts consider supplementing mammograms with breast MRI exams.

    Obviously, your primary care physician determines the need for further testing. However, knowing your breast density score is crucial to your good health. Being aware of which exams are effective, and thoughtfully discussing your ongoing diagnostic needs with your doctor is simply good health awareness.

    Do you want to learn more about how RMI approaches breast density? Read about our UltimateMamm®, a comprehensive mammogram that includes breast density information. To learn more about Breast MRI, please visit our RMI Breast MRI page.