Skip to main content

UR Medicine

UR Medicine / Imaging / Breast Imaging / Services / Dense Breasts


Dense Breasts

UR medicine is committed to advancing breast care technology by ensuring women have access to the precise care they deserve. Recognizing the need for accurate, early detection that is backed by research, we can fight against breast cancer.

What does it mean to have dense breasts?

Breast density is determined by having your annual mammogram. When you have dense breasts, your breasts contain higher amounts of fibrous connective tissue than fat tissue, making it more difficult to see tumors on a mammogram. High breast density is common, as around 50% of women over the age of 40 have it.

There are 4 categories used to determine breast density:

Breast Density Categories

About one in 10 women have either fatty breasts, (category 1) or extremely dense breasts (category 4), while most women fall into the two categories in the middle (2 - scattered fibroglandular densities and 3 - heterogeneously dense). 

Having dense breasts can increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Regular mammograms along with additional diagnostic technology is key to early detection.

How are we advancing technology for dense breasts?


The SoftVue screening tool was designed to be a more comfortable experience for patients with dense breast. Patients lie chest-down on a table and each breast is immersed in a warm water bath as it’s being scanned. A small imaging ring encircles the breast and collects images. You automatically qualify for a SoftVue scan if you have dense breast tissue. Women who take this exam can expect the scanning to only take about three minutes per breast.

SoftVue has proven to detect 20% more cancers when combined with standard mammography in dense breasts. In addition, rather than just having one type of image to review for possible cancers, SoftVue produces 4 different image sets of each breast that radiologists can use to determine if cancer is present. That is 4Xs the imaging power, giving radiologists more diagnostic confidence compared to just reviewing mammography alone. SoftVue does not replace your screening mammogram.

We also offer our Breast Health Program that can identify women with increased breast cancer risk, follow them closely and ensure that any possible cancers are detected and treated quickly.