Breast Density of Mammography is Correlated with Reproductive Risk Factors Regardless of Menopausal Status: A Cross-Sectional Study of the Korean National Screening Program

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Surgery, Haeundae Paik Hospital, College of Medicine, Inje University, Busan, Korea.

2 Department of Pharmacology, Inje University College of Medicine, Clinical Trial Center, Inje University Busan Paik Hospital, Busan, Korea.


Objective: To clarify the limitations of mammography screening for women with dense breasts, we examined breast density and its effects on screening results. Patients and Methods: We performed a cross-sectional, observational study on women who underwent mammography. Data from the National Cancer Screening Program(NCSP) from 2009 to 2013 were used. The study population consisted of participants with high breast density. We used a logistic regression analysis to evaluate the relationships between breast density and reproductive factors and screening results according to menopause status. Results: High breast density was reported for 57.5% of all participants (3,417,319 participants). Screening results indicated breast density of <25%, 25-50%, 51-75%, and ≥76% for 16.4%, 26.3%, 37.8%, and 19.5%, respectively, of participants. According to the screening results, high breast density was correlated with high deferment and recall rates. Reproductive factors, especially parity, breastfeeding, and use of oral contraceptives, had consistent effects on screening results of premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Regardless of menopausal status, age, early onset of menarche (15 years or younger), fewer live births (≤1 birth), and previous benign breast disease were correlated with increased breast density. In postmenopausal women, early-onset menopause and longer-term hormone replacement therapy (≥2 years) also independently increased breast density. Conclusion: Breast density influenced screening results, which could increase the rate of recall. Breast density was also influenced by reproductive factors, with patterns similar to those of breast cancer risk, regardless of menopausal status. We need to identify high-risk women with high density who would probably benefit from supplemental breast cancer screening.


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