Imaging Specialists patients not only leave with mammography results in hand, but also knowledge of increased risk due to breast density, thanks to a new law.  Hope’s Law states a patient must be informed if a mammogram indicates dense breast tissue. Following a mammogram, Imaging Specialists patients are immediately informed of their breast density level.  Dr. Micheal Garovich of Imaging Specialists explains, “Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibrous and glandular tissue and fatty tissue. A patient’s breasts are considered dense if they have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fat.”  Dense tissue can be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Says Dr. Garovich, “The hope is that educating patients on their personal density level will help increase awareness and spark informed conversations between a patient and their provider.”

There is a four level mammographic density scale used by radiologists, ranging from almost entirely fatty to extremely dense. Explains Dr. Garovich, “Many patients mistake fatty tissue for density. There is a big difference regarding protocol and detection. It is important for patients to be well informed of their density level and understand the difference.” Dense breasts can make it harder to detect cancer in mammography. For patients with completely dense breasts, ultrasound and MRI are often used in conjunction to 3D mammography for breast cancer detection.  Explains Dr. Garovich, “Scheduling a 3D mammogram is key for a patient with dense breasts.  52-76% of cancers are missed in dense breast tissue, where tumors are more difficult to identify in traditional mammography. That changes with wide-angle 3D breast tomosynthesis which is better at detecting through the dense tissues.”

The American College of Radiology recommends all women forty years and older have an annual mammogram. Imaging Specialists offers a full service Women’s Imaging suite, including 3D mammography, ultrasound, bone densitometry, and 3T breast MRI. Image guided biopsy is also provided on site. Subspecialty trained radiologists are on site and personally provide results to the patient as well as breast density level and are available to field any questions.