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28 Jul 2023

South Australian women will soon be able to learn their individual breast density at all of our screening clinics after a successful study found women had a strong preference to be more informed as part of their regular screening.

The 6-month study began in February 2022 and involved clinics at Arndale, Hyde Park, and a Mobile Screening Unit visiting outer metropolitan Adelaide.

As part of the study, clients who screened at the participating clinics received information about breast density and were informed of their individual breast density as part of their screening results. They were then invited to provide their feedback via an optional and anonymous online survey.

The survey found more than 90 per cent of respondents would like to continue to be informed of their breast density, with just two per cent preferring not to be told as part of their future appointments.

It also found 65 per cent of respondents strongly agreed or agreed that knowing their breast density meant they felt more informed to make decisions regarding their breast care.

There are four categories of breast density and around half of women are regarded as having dense breast tissue.

From 8 August 2023, BreastScreen SA will inform all clients of their individual breast density.

BreastScreen SA Clinical Director, Associate Professor Michelle Reintals, said higher breast density has been linked to an increased risk factor of breast cancer, and can reduce the visibility of breast cancers on a mammogram.

“While it is common and normal to have high breast density, this knowledge is important as it can inform decisions around breast care and increase breast awareness,” Associate Professor Reintals said.

“BreastScreen SA is grateful to the clients who supported the study and have helped to shape the future of breast cancer screening for women in South Australia."

It is important to recognise that regardless of an individual’s breast density, mammography is still the best breast cancer screening test, with regular screening reducing the chance of dying from breast cancer by up to 40 per cent.