How does breast density affect the risk for breast cancer?

Updated: Dec 27, 2019
  • Author: Pavani Chalasani, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: John V Kiluk, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Kerlikowske et al reported that women at high risk can be identified by combining 5-year breast cancer risk, as determined with the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC) risk calculator, with breast density as categorized with the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System (BI-RADS). [105]

High interval cancer rates were observed for women with a 5-year BCSC risk of 1.67% or greater and extremely dense breasts or a 5-year risk of 2.50% or greater and heterogeneously dense breasts. However, study participants who met those criteria accounted for only 24% of all women with dense breasts. [105]

The highest rate of advanced-stage breast cancer, >0.4 case per 1000 examinations, was seen in women with 5-year BCSC risk of 2.50% or greater and heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts. Such patients comprised 21% of all women with dense breasts. [105]


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