What does it mean if you have dense breast?

Our breast care team has access to the latest state-of-the-art technology like 3DMammography™ and Volpara™ to better assess your breast density and ensure each image in your mammogram is of the highest quality possible. If a recent mammogram showed you have “dense breasts” don’t worry, it’s normal and fairly common. In-fact it is estimated that 40-50% of women between 40 and 70 years old have dense breasts.

What Is Breast Density?

  • Breasts are primarily made up of fat and fibroglandular tissue
  • The more fibroglandular tissue you have compared to fat, the denser your breasts
  • The denser your breasts, the whiter your mammogram will look
  • Dense tissue and many cancers appear white on a mammogram
Breast Density (from low to high)

A description of your breast density is included in your mammography report read by our radiologists. They use a reporting system called BI-RADS to identify the level of density. The levels are:

  • Level 1 (0 – 25%) Almost entirely fatty
  • Level 2 (25 – 50%) Scattered Fibroglandular tissue
  • Level 3 (50 – 75%) Heterogeneously dense
  • Level 4 (over 75% ) Extreme Fibroglandular tissue


Breast density is a risk factor for developing breast cancer. It also plays a significant role in the radiologists’ ability to detect breast cancer because it can make spotting cancer more difficult.

How Volpara™ helps?  

Breast density is subjectively measured based on a visual assessment of a mammogram. The radiologist looks at the mammogram and decides how dense your breasts appear to them and assign one of four categories, shown above, this can lead to inconsistency.

Derry Imaging has invested in VolparaDensity™ technology to automatically and objectively determine the volume of dense tissue in your breast. This provides a more consistent density assessment and helps our radiologists identify women who may benefit from additional screening, such as ultrasound or Breast MRI.

You may also want to discuss these supplemental screenings if you are a high risk patient who has:

  • The BRCA gene mutations
  • A strong family history of breast cancer
  • A finding on a mammogram that warrants additional testing


Derry Imaging offers Hologic 3D Mammography™ and Volpara™ at all our locations in Derry, Windham & Bedford, NH