Prevalence of mammographically dense breasts in the United States

Brian L. Sprague, Ronald E. Gangnon, Veronica Burt, Amy Trentham-Dietz, John M. Hampton, Robert D. Wellman, Karla Kerlikowske, Diana L Miglioretti

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130 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background National legislation is under consideration that would require women with mammographically dense breasts to be informed of their breast density and encouraged to discuss supplemental breast cancer screening with their health care providers. The number of US women potentially affected by this legislation is unknown. Methods We determined the mammographic breast density distribution by age and body mass index (BMI) using data from 1 518 599 mammograms conducted from 2007 through 2010 at mammography facilities in the Breast Cancer Surveillance Consortium (BCSC). We applied these breast density distributions to age- and BMI-specific counts of the US female population derived from the 2010 US Census and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to estimate the number of US women with dense breasts. Results Overall, 43.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 43.1% to 43.4%) of women 40 to 74 years of age had heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts, and this proportion was inversely associated with age and BMI. Based on the age and BMI distribution of US women, we estimated that 27.6 million women (95% CI = 27.5 to 27.7 million) aged 40 to 74 years in the United States have heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts. Women aged 40 to 49 years (N = 12.3 million) accounted for 44.3% of this group. Conclusion The prevalence of dense breasts among US women of common breast cancer screening ages exceeds 25 million. Policymakers and healthcare providers should consider this large prevalence when debating breast density notification legislation and designing strategies to ensure that women who are notified have opportunities to evaluate breast cancer risk and discuss and pursue supplemental screening options if deemed appropriate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdju255
JournalJournal of the National Cancer Institute
Volume106
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Sprague, B. L., Gangnon, R. E., Burt, V., Trentham-Dietz, A., Hampton, J. M., Wellman, R. D., Kerlikowske, K., & Miglioretti, D. L. (2014). Prevalence of mammographically dense breasts in the United States. Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 106(10), [dju255]. https://doi.org/10.1093/jnci/dju255