|Date of diagnosis:|
|Age at time of diagnosis:||57|
|Stage of diagnosis:|
|NORMAL mammogram:||Eight months prior to diagnosis|
|How was cancer diagnosed:||Palpable lumpUltrasound|
After discovering a lump in my breast, I went for my already scheduled annual mammogram which was NORMAL. I had annual mammograms for 15 years and was NEVER informed that I had DENSE BREAST TISSUE - not even after I reported the lump. Eight months after my NORMAL mammogram, I noticed the lump was growing and was visibly. Since my mammo was normal and I knew nothing about MY dense breast tissue, I assumed it was a blocked duct. I decided to have it checked out.
My OBGYN ordered an ultrasound and immediately, the same imaging office where my mammo 8 months prior was NORMAL, ordered biopsy which confirmed INVASIVE breast cancer with mets to lungs, lymph nodes and bones. The radiologist showed me my previous mammogram and said that I have VERY dense breasts - but because I do not have a FAMILY HISTORY no ultrasound was recommended EVEN though I had a palpable lump.
My husband and I are now advocating that women MUST be informed of their dense breast tissue. We can't help to think how different our lives would be had the radiologist told me of my dense breast tissue back in 2013.
Post Script: Tragically, Cheri passed on January 10, 2016. Our hearts are broken for Cheri's husband, Bill and her family and loved ones. We are saddened that Cheri, like 40-50% of women across the globe NEVER had equal access to an Early Diagnosis because of the masking of dense breast tissue by mammography. If breast cancer screening reduces death from the disease, we must change this fatal flaw in breast cancer screening and give ALL women an opportunity to find cancer at its earliest stage.
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Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.
Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and 1/4 of post menopausal women have dense breast tissue.
Adding more sensitive tests to mammography significantly increase detection of invasive cancers that are small and node negative.
Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.
While a mammogram detects 98% of cancers in women with fatty breasts, it finds only 48% in women with the densest breasts.
A woman at average risk and a woman at high risk have an EQUAL chance of having their cancer masked by mammogram.
Women with dense breasts who had breast cancer have a four times higher risk of recurrence than women with less-dense breasts.
There are too many women who are unaware of their breast density, believe their “Happy Gram” when it reports no significant findings and are at risk of receiving a later stage cancer diagnosis.