In February 2014, New Jersey implemented the S-792 law requiring mammography
providers to notify patients who were categorized as having dense breast
tissue. The legislation also requires insurers to cover breast follow-up
evaluations, such as ultrasounds in women with dense breast tissue. The
law was designed to improve early breast cancer detection as well as educate
patients about dense breast tissue to make them aware of how having dense
breast tissue might make it more difficult to detect abnormalities.
Breasts are made up of a mixture of fibrous and glandular tissue and fatty
tissue. Your breasts are considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous
or glandular tissue but not much fat. Density may decrease with age, but
there is little, if any, change in most women. Breast density can make
it difficult to detect cancer during routine mammograms.
The radiologist who reads your mammogram will determine your breast density
in one of the four categories:
- Predominately fatty
- Scattered fibroglandular
- Heterogenously dense
- Extremely dense
Depending on where you fall on the density scale, your physician will
be able to tell you if you have dense breasts. If you have dense breasts,
please talk to your doctor. Together, you can decide if you require additional
breast screening exams.
If your breasts are not dense, other factors may still place you at increased
risk for breast cancer — including a family history of the disease,
previous chest radiation treatment for cancer and previous breast biopsies
indicating you are high risk. Please talk to your doctor and discuss your history.
Even if you are at low risk, and have entirely fatty breasts, The Breast
Center recommends an annual mammogram beginning at age 40.
To learn more about breast density and other screening modalities, please
contact our Nurse Navigator at 973.322.7804.
For further information