Omega-3, mammographic density and breast cancer risk


Breast density is directly linked to breast cancer risk. Density is not size or firmness, but the balance of black and white that appears on a mammogram (breast density can be determined only by mammograms) and reflects the breast composition: amount of glandular, connective and fatty tissue. Breasts are considered dense if they have a lot of fibrous or glandular tissue but not much fatty tissue. On mammograms, dense tissue looks white and fatty tissue looks almost black; as tumours look white, it is more difficult to see them in dense tissue (for this reason, magnetic resonance is recommended for women at high risk). There are four categories of breast density: from almost all fatty tissue (1) to very little fatty tissue (4). High density is more common among white women and during the childbearing years, and decreases during menopause (when this doesn’t occur, it is considered higher risk). In general, women who have very dense breasts have a three to fivefold increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who have less dense tissue.

Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk of developing breast cancer. We will discuss this in the next post.