Apr 24, 2010 10:41 AM by NBC
A new study finds women with extremely dense breasts have a significantly increased risk of breast cancer. According to researchers at the University of Kansas, women with a breast density of 75% or higher are 4 to 5 times more likely to develop cancer than women with little to no density.
Density refers to the amount of ducts, lobes, tissue and fluid in the breasts which are detected in a mammogram.
The mammograms of women with dense breasts are more white than gray, and what radiologists look for is spots of white to find tumors and other breast abnormalities.
Researchers say while dense breasts are a risk factor for breast cancer, having a lower breast density does not necessarily mean a lower risk of cancer. What they do say is by reducing a woman's breast density, it may be possible to decrease her risk for breast cancer.