Assessing knowledge and awareness of breast density in the general population and the impact of breast density notification in Western Australia

Although researchers have been investigating the associations between breast density and breast cancer for many years, the concept of breast density is still relatively new to lay populations. The literature regarding what information women find useful and meaningful in order to make good decisions regarding their breast density is very sparse.

We have coordinated a consumer consultation program to identify women’s existing knowledge about breast density, and what information might be helpful for them to make informed decisions about their breast health. All women who have attended BreastScreen WA since December 17th, 2017 (excluding those who have been recalled for further assessment) have been invited via email to complete the Breast Density Survey.  Women who choose to participate can complete the survey either online or by telephone, and the survey takes only 5-10 minutes. To develop the survey, we conducted an extensive literature review to select survey questions that have been developed using validated tools for other research, making the results comparable across studies.

This study will be the largest and most comprehensive investigation thus far of the impact of informing breast screening participants that they have dense breasts. Our findings will provide the basis for BreastScreen programs to report measures of mammographic density to participants in future.


Funding has been provided by BreastScreen Australia and the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Selected publications

  • Stone J. (2018). Should breast cancer screening programs routinely measure mammographic density? Journal of Medical Imaging and Radiation Oncology 62(2): 151-158. [link]