Studies have shown that breast ultrasound and breast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can help find some breast cancers that cannot be seen on mammograms. Women with dense breast tissue are advised to discuss whether additional breast imaging is appropriate for them.
Unfortunately, there are not any clear guidelines for helping patients with dense breasts decide whether to undergo additional testing. Additional tests carry risks as well as benefits; the patient is undergoing a costly procedure both in terms of expense and in terms of fear and anxiety in response to the additional screening. Additional imaging such as breast ultrasound can lead to additional procedures such as breast biopsy, and only a very small percentage of those biopsies will actually find cancer. Finally, breast ultrasound and MRI may not be covered by insurance.