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Topic: Dense Fibrograndular Tissue

Forum: Benign Breast Conditions —

A safe place to worry for members who have not been diagnosed with breast cancer, but have concerns about their breasts.

Posted on: Feb 10, 2019 04:33PM

KMAR85 wrote:

Hello all! (And thank you in advance for any insight you provide!)

I found a lump about 8 or so weeks before my yearly GYN visit. My doctor felt it at the time too, and while she wasn’t overly concerned—she did order a breast ultrasound to make sure.

So I go to do that last week; they also did a mammogram—they said it was standard if you’re over 30 (I’m 33), have never had one and where are breast concerns. So we do all that, and when done the tech said she was going to ice the images to the in-house radiologist, and she’d come back and tell me what he said.

So about 20 min later, her and the radiologist came in. He is at first talking about how it couldn’t really be distinguished on imaging, but it may be an area of dense breast tissue. So he’s asking me some questions about it and begins to palpate the area. And he’s not showing concern until he gets to the area of concern and his eyes kinda pop up and he goes “oh, that definitely feels different there” and he grabs the ultrasound wand and stars doing that for a while. And then after doing that for a while, he was like “yea, I think it’s just extra tissue. So as long as you don’t have any new issues. Keep your yearly GYN appts, continue self checks and we’ll see you at 40”.

As soon as I left I regretted not asking more questions because he did not seem overly confident in his diagnosis. A friend of mine said she would for sure ask for a second opinion since this radiologist didn’t seem overly sure. I’ve not received the report yet, so I’m hoping it has more definitive terms in there to put me at ease. Another friend recommended just seeing if they could see me at that imaging office and better explain the results. What do y’all think? I’m planning on asking my GYN if based on everything she’d recommend a second opinion, or a follow up sooner than a year.

My question was—do y’all know if the dense fibroglandular tissue is unmistakeable on imaging or can it look like other conditions? Because had he looked at the original images and been like “oh yea, that’s for sure extra tissue” then I wouldn’t be concerned. But he wasn’t satisfied with the first set of images, came back to do his own and even then did the ultrasound for a while before he came to that conclusion.

Thank y’all!

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Feb 10, 2019 09:36PM Moderators wrote:

Dear KMAR85,

We are sorry for what brings you here but glad that you reached out. While you are waiting for some responses check out this page with links to other areas of interest for those who have imaging questions. The Mods

To send a Private Message to the Mods: community.breastcancer.org/mem...
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Feb 10, 2019 11:35PM Bheg79 wrote:

Hi KMAR85,

I had a lumpy area/area of thickening for over a year that they kept telling me was just extra tissue - unfortunately mine was not - it wasn’t until I saw a completely different radiologist that actually ordered a biopsy and it was cancer - not trying to scare you but in hindsight I wish I would’ve got a second opinion sooner - I’m 38 - hopefully yours is just extra tissue! Xox

Dx 3/27/2018, IDC, Right, 3cm, Stage IIA, Grade 3, 0/6 nodes, ER+/PR+, HER2+ Surgery 4/18/2018 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Sentinel Targeted Therapy 6/18/2018 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Chemotherapy 6/18/2018 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Radiation Therapy 11/28/2018 Whole-breast Hormonal Therapy Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone)
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Feb 11, 2019 04:04AM - edited Feb 11, 2019 04:55AM by KMAR85

Hi Bheg79,

I hate that yours ended up being cancer and that it wasn't detected at first! I pray that you are on the road to recovery! Thank you so much fo you're response. Between the concern I already had, and now your information/experience—I'm fairly sure that I am going to ask for a second opinion. Thank you so much, again!

Best wishes!!

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Feb 13, 2019 02:53AM KMAR85 wrote:

just as an update—I got the official report

-heterogeneous dense breast tissue

-asymmetrical increase of fibroglandular tissue in area of concern

-palpable nodular area in area of concern.

Radiologist reporter these are all benign findings, but did recommend me to have annual mammograms now. (I’m 33, and don’t have a family history of breast cancer, so I’m not sure why

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Feb 14, 2019 10:01PM - edited Feb 22, 2019 01:36AM by LillyDuff


Saw this thread and really glad you are being proactive!! I wished I found this site before my cancer diagnosis.

The following is my personal experience with a fibroadenoma diagnosis and also just my personal opinions.

Early detection with mammography failed me in 2016 as I had dense breasts and a presumed "fibroadenoma" per ultrasound (my request) where no biopsy was recommended at the time. I went another year for that "yearly mammogram" and still nothing showed up. My doctor didn't feel the need to order another ultrasound the next year and told me that clinical exam felt normal. (I should have pushed for another ultrasound. I just didn't know...) My bouncy lumpy fibroadenoma changed one day to a rock hard lump five months after my last "normal" mammogram. During my biopsy, finally, when I knew in my heart it had to be cancer, the Radiologist kind of mumbled on her way out of the room that "maybe we should have biopsied that last time."(14 months earlier) The worst thing to hear while on the table facing a cancer diagnosis. Even the day of my biopsy when the clip was placed in the area of concern via ultrasound, the unilateral mammogram to confirm the clip placement etc.STILL did not show the tumor!!!! It's like it was invisible in mammography but did visualize in ultrasound.Then the MRI I had after biopsy to determine extent of disease not only showed the tumor, but numerous satellite lesions. It looked like fireworks went off in my breast!!! I had no idea that was the case and mammography showed NOTHING!!!!

The Radiologist mentioned that she couldn't dictate the mammogram during biopsy as normal because at that point, we knew where the lump was, so she had to leave the mammography report as "incomplete" BI-RADS 0 needed ultrasound to confirm, which the biopsy was via ultrasound. That was her way around the reading. So, who knows how long my tumor(s) were brewing in me? I never missed a mammogram appointment and had them each year on my dense breasts! Each year, my report was normal, but did mention dense breast tissue but did not recommend more imaging just mentioned follow up with clinical exams and yearly mammography. That's it.

Would it be too much for the Radiologists to add one extra sentence on a report to recommend additional imaging due to dense breast tissue? I know that is the case now in some states but not all. This seriously needs to change and I'm surprised it's still not a requirement in all states. So very sad! How many patients fall through the cracks? (Please take note, ladies!!!)

Needless to say, if I could turn back time, I would have demanded an ultrasound with each mammogram due to my dense breast tissue. I just didn't know to keep asking for it. I would have paid cash for an ultrasound as well!!!! My dense breasts were a hassle all my life and I always wondered if those lumps would turn out to be a problem. Sure enough, they were ticking time bombs.No history of BC in my family. No risk factors other than dense breast tissue. My genetic screening was clean. All normal.

Now, I have to live with worrying about a recurrence. Not fun. :(

Dx 4/25/2017, IDC, Left, 2cm, Stage IIB, Grade 3, 0/4 nodes, ER+/PR-, HER2+ (FISH) Chemotherapy 5/15/2017 Carboplatin (Paraplatin), Taxotere (docetaxel) Targeted Therapy 5/16/2017 Herceptin (trastuzumab) Targeted Therapy 5/16/2017 Perjeta (pertuzumab) Surgery 11/14/2017 Mastectomy: Left; Prophylactic mastectomy: Right; Reconstruction (left): Silicone implant; Reconstruction (right): Silicone implant Radiation Therapy 1/25/2018 Whole-breast: Breast, Lymph nodes, Chest wall Surgery 7/18/2018 Prophylactic ovary removal Hormonal Therapy 9/30/2018 Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery 11/16/2018 Reconstruction (right): Fat grafting Hormonal Therapy Arimidex (anastrozole) Surgery
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Mar 25, 2019 03:44AM Lemonslemons16 wrote:

hi there,

Pain brought me in to see my obgyn and she noted that in the area I mentioned pain she felt “dense tissue”. I asked her to explain and she basically said “I feel dense tissue in that area”. She ordered a mammogram and us. I don’t really feel anything different about that area compared to the surrounding area or to the same area on the other breast. It’s located in the upper outside area, almost more like my armpit area. I’m nervous now that since I’ve had pain persisting for awhile (it’s always been mild so I never went in for it but decided it was time) that I’ve missed something that’s had warning signs for awhile. She mentioned that the other breast was not as dense. I actually thought dense breast tissuebwas only detected via mammogram so i was surprised she used those terms. I’m worried sick. Im 35, have little ones and feel like I’m im being fast tracked

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Mar 25, 2019 04:00AM KMAR85 wrote:

Hi Lemonslemons16,

I’m definitely not a doctor, so I can only say what I’ve been told from my doctor and at the imaging facility, etc. From my understanding, dense breast tissue can vary from having none or very little dense tissue—-all the way to most of your breast being that dense tissue. And dense breast tissue is fairly common I’ve been told. Dense tissue can be felt by your doctor, or at least my gyn felt mine and said that it was dense tissue and felt different from the surrounding tissue—that she why she ordered the imaging to be sure. The mammograms does kinda confirm it though—and my mammogram described it as being heterogenously dense, and an asymmetrical increase in one breast. So my breasts have a lot of that dense tissue, and more of it in one breast than the other—-but in my case it’s turned out to be normal. They did say that Small lesions in dense tissue can be missed sometimes on mammos—so some doctors order extra imaging such as ultrasound—so I’m glad you’re dr went ahead and did both. I hope you get your results quickly and that they are normal

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Mar 26, 2019 02:53PM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


Thanks for your reply. I’ve been having some discomfort in the area she noted as dense so now I’m paying a lot more attention to that area. It doesn’t really feel all that different to me than the surrounding area or the same area on the other breast. Maybe slightly thicker and certainly more sensitive...

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Mar 27, 2019 12:27AM cecyc wrote:


Did you have a biopsy?  or how did they determine your tissue was normal?  I have the same issue as you.  More density on one side.  I wish I could post pictures of my mammogram to see if this is like what showed up on yours. 

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Mar 27, 2019 12:56AM KMAR85 wrote:

Hi LemonsLemon16,

I definitely understand your concern—I’ve been diligent with my monthly self checks since this appointment to try to see if the area is growing or changing. How long do you have to wait for your results?

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Mar 27, 2019 12:57AM KMAR85 wrote:

hi Cecyc,


They didn't do a biopsy. He just said that it appeared to be normal tissue. That being said—-since it was my first ever mammogram and ultrasound, and they have nothing to compare it to—-it made me a little nervous that they didn't suggest a biopsy, just to be sure. (Even though I hate needles lol)

They did recommend me having yearly screenings now (I'm 33, so wasn't due to start having those for a while)—but that was it. I told my Gynecologist's office about my concerns afterward —I love them and have always trusted them. They essentially said that since the report all indicated it was normal, to just continue with self breast checks and we'll have another screening in a year. But I plan to ask for a follow up screening sooner than that I think. Because I have the dense breast tissue—it's honestly hard to feel if it's changing.

Did your mammogram have similar results?

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Mar 27, 2019 04:09AM cecyc wrote:

Hi, yes it did have similar results. Assymetry in the left breast due to fibroglandular tissue. Ultrasound said the same thing. Normal breast tissue were I feel the lump! I will let you know how it goes on Thursday

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Mar 27, 2019 03:09PM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


My mammogram and US is tomorrow... they said I’d meet with the radiologist after and on Friday I have an appointment with a NP who works for the breast care center. So, I’m assuming, I won’t know much with certainty tomorrow.

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Mar 28, 2019 10:10PM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


So I had a 3D Mamo and ultra sound today. Radiologist didn’t see anything on the mammo nor on the ultrasound, even when going over the area that my MD had said was “dense”. She didn’t even mention increased tissue. I even let her know when she was going over areas that hurt (since pain was the only symptom that initially brought me to my MD.) She said my breast density is average. I can’t find relief though because I still feel a slight difference and obviously I still don’t have an explanation for pain

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Mar 29, 2019 04:10AM KMAR85 wrote:


I hate the didn’t really put your mind at ease today! Hopefully the appointment with your NP tomorrow and/or when they send the official report will hopefully clear things up. If not, you think your MD would order a 2nd opinion

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Mar 29, 2019 05:45PM Lemonslemons16 wrote:

I hope so... I have a list of questions to ask. Is it customary to ask for a copy of my images? I saw a sign in the waiting area that said it’s within my rights to obtain copies of my images. This is a breast center, affiliated with a major hospital cancer center, so in terms of “second opinions”, I’m not sure where I’d go... Most local MDs would probably refer to this hospital, maybe just not this particular branch. How long does it typically take to get a report? The sign said they have up to 30 days. I’ll lose my mind!!

I’m mostly worried because I was dismissed on the following premises; I’m “young” (35), have no family history, and “bc doesn’t hurt”. That last one was really emphasized by the radiologist. I obviously want this to be good news but I just don’t feel relief

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Mar 29, 2019 06:03PM MelissaDallas wrote:

You weren’t dismissed. Being dismissed is not being sent for testing. You were referred for both a high tech mammogram and ultrasound that apparently had nothing but benign findings. Do you think the radiologist is ignoring findings on your imaging because of your age?You would certainly be sent for biopsy for anything deemed to have even a 3% chance of being cancer. While breast cancer can hurt, it is way down on the list of causes of breast pain. Many women have painful breasts for no apparent reason or hormones or fibrocystic breasts. It is one of the most common reasons women go to the doctor. Perhaps you can get the MRI, but be aware that there still may be no explanation for your painful breasts.

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Apr 1, 2019 01:49AM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


You’re right. I’m not being dismissed, they just don’t see anything. Saw my mammo report and for both breasts it was a Birads - 1 with no suspicious areas seen.

The NP at the Breast center thinks I’m experiencing chest wall pain... not true breast pain. She thinks any breast pain I experience is hormonal. She said breast pain in and of itself is not a red flag for cancer and the nurse before her said that they consider breast pain to be pain rated as a constant severe pain, that requires intervention. Recommended IB profen. Performed a thorough breast exam herself and said she felt nothing abnormal. Said she would be happy to schedule an appointment with me again at any point if even for reassurance. I’m going back in 3 months.

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Apr 1, 2019 04:06AM MelissaDallas wrote:

Lemons, I know it is a really annoying and frustrating problem to be uncomfortable so much of the time for no “fixable” reason. I’m glad you feel reassured that there is nothing dire going on

LCIS, extensive sclerosing adenosis, TAH/BSO & partial omentectomy for mucinous borderline ovarian tumor.
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Apr 2, 2019 06:32PM strongintexas wrote:

Hi Lemon! I've been having a similar experience as you for over two years now. I had a 3D mammogram, 3 ultrasounds, and one MRI with benign findings and still have pain in the left breast for two years. No one can explain it. It's so frustrating. Perhaps it's my hormones changing, but you would think if we could go to the moon and back someone could explain my breast pain. I'm going back in for more testing this week after no screenings for two years. I just feel frustrated because everyone can feel my breast has a lump, but no one can see anything in the scans so I end up getting worked up while waiting for results and they want me to do this every year? I feel like the stress of it might actually cause cancer.

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Apr 3, 2019 12:02AM Lemonslemons16 wrote:


I’m sorry you have had to deal with that. Two years complaining of pain has got to be frustrating but it sounds like you’ve had a lot of imaging done (including the MRI) which should be somewhat reassuring.

The NP at the Breast Center said to me (and because I have anxiety I try to believe but it’s still hard), that in her 38 years working from Manhattan to Boston (where we are), she’s never seen pain alone be a symptom of breast cancer. I know others on here will disagree and I think it’s important to pay attention to pain and any changes. Though my OBGYN mentioned she felt “dense tissue” in my painful breast, the NP felt nothing and said density cannot be felt- mammograms report density. She also said she would see me anytime I wanted. I’m going back in 3 months.

I totally get the concern and worry (believe me, I’ve lost so much sleep over worry, and still do). Did the lump show in the MRI? I’m guessing not? Has anyone mentioned removing the lump (if it’s palpable, could it be removed?) I know nothing about this stuff so I’m just curious. I had two sebaceous cysts on my breast and both were surgically removed years ago (same spot). Both were far enough under the skin that surgery was the only option. The NP actually told me that most surgeons today would have left that alone but for me it was huge (size of a quarter completely visible) and I was young and wanted it gone. All that to say, could it be a skin issue?

Please update after your appointment

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Apr 10, 2019 07:15AM strongintexas wrote:

Hi Lemon, Sorry it has taken me a minute to get back to you. I have a lumpy area with thickening. So far no lump has shown in imaging, just density. I started my long process to get new tests a few days ago (I don’t have insurance). I saw a nurse practicioner at Planned Parenthood and she could feel the thick area and has given me a referral to a low cost diagnostic mammogram and Ultrasound. I have to wait until the right day in my cycle to get it done so not for a couple more weeks. The NP said it felt like a very large thick area which she thinks probably means it’s hormonal, but she alsothinks I should ask for a biopsy if I want complete peace of mind.

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Apr 10, 2019 07:25PM cecyc wrote:

Hi Strongintexas,

I had the same issue as you. Lump in left breast not seen on diag. Mammogram or ultrasound. Since both pcp and obgyn felt it they referred me to a breast surgeon. He said we could wait 6 months and look again or have an excisional biopsy to see what it really was. I had it done and it turned out be be tissue with inflammation and fibrosystic changes. The area showed up as dense tissue in my mammogram and ultrasound as well

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