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Atlas of breast cancer early detection

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Breast imaging – Mammography interpretation – Understanding the normal mammogram – Breast variations with age


  • The normal appearance of the breast on a mammogram varies with the age of the patient.
  • Younger women have dense breast parenchyma, with a greater proportion of fibroglandular density than fatty tissue. This density gradually decreases with the involution changes seen with advancing age.
  • However, the breast being dense in younger women and fatty in older women is not a universal pattern. Middle-aged women may have fatty breasts, and older women may have dense breasts.

Click on the following links to view examples of involution changes: case 1, and case 2.

Normal mammogram at age 20 years

Normal mammogram at age 35 years

Normal mammogram at age 55 years

Normal mammogram at age 65 years

Variable density
Fatty breast parenchyma at 40 years

Dense breast parenchyma at 60 years


Click on the pictures to magnify and display the legends

Click on this icon to display a case study

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