WHAT IS BREAST DENSITY?
Breast tissue is composed of fibrous, glandular and fatty tissue. Dense breasts have much more fibrous and glandular tissue compared to fatty tissue. About 50% of women have dense breast tissue.
WHY IS BREAST DENSITY IMPORTANT?
Dense breast tissue makes it much more difficult to find cancer on a mammogram by hiding an early cancer when it has the best chance for cure.
Depending on how dense your tissue is, dense breast tissue may moderately increase your risk of breast cancer.
HOW DO I FIND OUT IF I HAVE DENSE BREASTS?
Breast density is determined by the radiologist who reads your mammogram. This information is included in your mammogram report that goes to your health care provider. Dense breasts are classified as either “heterogeneously dense” or “extremely dense”. Florida Breast Density Legislation passed in March 2018 mandates patient notification of breast density effective July 2018.
WHAT IS AB-MR SCREENING?
Abbreviated Breast MRI (AB-MR) Screening is a new low cost, shortened version of the standard breast MRI exam. The AB-MR has been developed specifically for screening women with dense breasts.
AB-MR does not have radiation or breast compression, but has the same accuracy as the standard breast MRI exam when used for screening.
Breast MRI has been recommended for many years as an additional screening for women at risk of developing breast cancer.
Studies have shown that supplemental imaging can find cancers that cannot be seen on a mammogram. Breast MRI is the most accurate supplemental imaging.
To put this into perspective:
AB-MR exams are read by our expert breast imaging radiologists at Radiology Regional.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE DENSE BREASTS?
If you have dense breasts, please talk to your health care provider. Together, you can decide if additional screening is right for you. AB-MR is being offered for screening dense breasts only, at an out of pocket cost.
DO I STILL NEED TO HAVE MAMMOGRAMS?
Based on current scientific information, it is recommended that you continue with mammograms (preferably 3D) every year, starting at age 40, in addition to any other screening that you may undergo.
WHAT ABOUT FALSE POSITIVE TEST RESULTS?
No breast cancer screening test is perfect. There will be times when something is found that requires further testing, including possibly a needle biopsy, to determine if there is truly a cancer present. If it turns out that no cancer is present, it’s called a false positive. Fortunately, when read by expert breast imaging radiologists, the false-positive rate for AB-MR is relatively low and similar to mammograms.
DO I NEED A PRESCRIPTION?
AB-MR is only a supplemental screening exam for dense breasts, therefore, a physician prescription is not necessary. You will need a referring physician to receive the report at the time of your exam. We will offer a list of accepting physicians, if necessary.
AB-MR screening must be scheduled between days 1 and 10 of your menstrual cycle, if applicable.
Prior to your MRI examination you may eat and take your medications as you normally would. You cannot be examined by MRI if you have any of the following:
WHAT IS THE COST & IS IT COVERED BY INSURANCE?
Most insurance companies do not yet cover AB-MR screening for women who have dense breasts. Radiology Regional is offering AB-MR screening at an out of pocket cost.
CAN I HAVE AN AB-MR EXAM AS SUPPLEMENTAL SCREENING IF I HAVE IMPLANTS?
Yes. The FDA recommends that women with silicone gel-filled implants have routine breast MRI exams to evaluate for silent implant rupture starting at 3 years after the implants have been placed, and every 2 years thereafter. We offer a special abbreviated breast MRI exam, called AB-MR Plus, that screens dense breasts for both cancer and silicone implant rupture (the price is higher than a regular AB-MR due to the additional time involved to evaluate the silicone implants). If you have saline implants and dense breasts, you may have the regular AB-MR because saline does not require special MR sequences.
Click here for more information on Abbreviate Breast MRI Screening for Dense Breasts with Silicone Implants.