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Sep 24, 2012 10:31PM Beesie wrote:
It's important to not confuse the BIRADs rating for a mammogram (or ultrasound or MRI) with the BIRADs classification of density. They are two completely different things.
BIRADs ratings for films range from BIRADS 0 (not enough information) through to BIRADS 6 (a known malignancy). BIRADs 2 is a benign finding, with the addition of comments. (A BiRADs 1 is a benign finding with no comments). In your case, it sounds as though the comment related to your breast density.
The BIRADs classifications for breast density are as follows:
1. the breast is almost entirely fat (<25% glandular)
2. scattered fibroglandular densities (25-50%)
3. heterogeneously dense breast tissue (51-75%)
4. extremely dense (> 75% glandular)
BI-RADS Introduction to the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System
It is true that higher breast density does present a breast cancer risk, but this is a particular issue for women who are post-menopausal who still have extremely dense breasts. Younger women usually have dense breasts so heterogeneous density is actually a normal condition of women in their 40s and younger.
crystalred7, how old are you? You age will indicate whether your breast density is something to be concerned about or not.
It is also true that higher breast density can make 'reading' a mammogram more difficult for the radiologist. If the radiologist has concerns that he or she may be missing something, usually that's noted on the report, and often a follow-up ultrasound or MRI will be recommended. If there are no comments about this on your report, then it's likely that the radiologist is satisfied with the mammogram.
By the way, there has been recent legislation in NY State that requires that the breast density level be given to patients. Even though you are not in NY State, more and more facilities are including the breast density classification on the mammo report, just as a matter of course. The problem however is that it doesn't come with any explanation, and as a result, it often raises unnecessary concerns.
Dx 9/15/05, DCIS-MI, 6cm+ Gr3 DCIS w/IDC microinvasion, Stage I, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR- “No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” Edmund Burke