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Breast Density

Dense breasts are very common—about 50 percent of women have them. There is no cause for alarm if you are one of these women. However, the density makes mammograms more difficult to read and can hide abnormalities and make it harder to detect problem areas or cancer.

After your annual mammogram, you may receive a letter from your physician letting you know your breast tissue is dense. The notification of breast density is a law. In Texas, it's referred to as Henda's Law, and 20 other states have some form of the mandate.

Notification of dense breast tissue is provided in order to raise awareness and promote discussion with your physician. Mammography is the most accurate method for early detection, but not all cancers are found through this method. They can determine whether or not you have additional risk factors and help you and your doctor decide if supplemental screening would be beneficial.

Current guidelines recommend screening mammograms and physical breast examinations every year beginning at age 40. Along with scheduling a regular mammogram, please remember the importance of monthly breast self-examination. Most important, if you have any concerns, inform your physician immediately. Early detection is the best protection against breast cancer.

To learn more or to schedule a mammogram, call the Shannon Imaging Center at 325.747.2339.

High Risk Screening

At the Shannon Breast Center, we offer a high-risk screening program for our high risk patients. In addition to notifying, you if you have dense breast tissue, we provide other screening exams to include ultrasound and breast MRI and genetic testing. All of our screening mammography reports include your calculated lifetime risk of developing breast cancer, using the Tyrer-Cuzick model. The TC model takes into consideration breast density, age, family history of breast cancer, and history of breast biopsy.
Our Screening Protocol is as follows:

  • Begin yearly screening mammography at age 40.
  • Supplemental dense breast screening (heterogeneously and extremely dense):
  • If Tyrer Cuzick (Tc) lifetime risk is > 20% then the patient will need a breast MRI. The patient will not need the breast ultrasound for dense breast tissue.
  • If Tc lifetime risk is < 20% the patient will need a whole breast ultrasound.
  • If the patient does not want the breast MRI for screening, then do a whole breast ultrasound.
  • BRCA 1 and 2: annual mammogram and MRI beginning at age 25.
  • If patient has a first degree relative with breast cancer, then begin screening mammograms 10 years prior to their diagnosis.


We are proud to offer Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound Screening (ABUS). The Invenia ABUS (Automated Breast Ultrasound) is the first FDA-approved ultrasound supplemental screening technology specifically designed for detecting cancer in dense breast tissue. This quick 20-minute 3D scan provides images of both breasts as an adjunct to screening mammograms to increase breast cancer detection in dense tissue.

To learn more or to schedule an ABUS, call the Shannon Breast Center at 325.747.2339