Reconstruction of absorbed doses to fibroglandular tissue of the breast of women undergoing mammography (1960 to the Present)

Isabelle Thierry-Chef, Steven L. Simon, Robert M. Weinstock, Deukwoo Kwon, Martha S. Linet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The assessment of potential benefits versus harms from mammographic examinations as described in the controversial breast cancer screening recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Task Force included limited consideration of absorbed dose to the fibroglandular tissue of the breast (glandular tissue dose), the tissue at risk for breast cancer. Epidemiological studies on cancer risks associated with diagnostic radiological examinations often lack accurate information on glandular tissue dose, and there is a clear need for better estimates of these doses. Our objective was to develop a quantitative summary of glandular tissue doses from mammography by considering sources of variation over time in key parameters, including imaging protocols, X-ray target materials, voltage, filtration, incident air kerma, compressed breast thickness, and breast composition. We estimated the minimum, maximum and mean values for glandular tissue dose for populations of exposed women within 5-year periods from 1960 to the present, with the minimum to maximum range likely including 90% to 95% of the entirety of the dose range from mammography in North America and Europe. Glandular tissue dose from a single view in mammography is presently about 2 mGy, about one-sixth the dose in the 1960s. The ratio of our estimates of maximum to minimum glandular tissue doses for average-size breasts was about 100 in the 1960s compared to a ratio of about 5 in recent years. Findings from our analysis provide quantitative information on glandular tissue doses from mammographic examinations that can be used in epidemiological studies of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-108
Number of pages11
JournalRadiation research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiation
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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