Connecticut Woman's Breast Cancer in BOTH breasts missed by mammography - found by ultrasound
Date of Diagnosis: Feb. 16, 2011
Age at Diagnosis: 44
Stage of Diagnosis: 1A-left, 2B-right
Time from "normal" mammogram to diagnosis: One month
How was cancer detected: ultrasound
PHOTO: Claudia and Dr. Cappello in August, 2011
Claudia's story: I have no doubt that my life has been saved predominantly because Dr. Nancy Cappello spearheaded her legislative agenda in CT, based on her advanced cancer in 2004 not found on mammogram because of her dense tissue. She remained steadfast and focused on her five year mission to enact legislation in Connecticut to require the communication of breast density to the patient through her mammography report. The legislation finally passed in June 2009 and was signed by Governor Jody Rell. On October 1, 2009, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to require the communication of breast density to the patient through her mammography report.
My story is like a double-edged sword. After a normal mammogram in January 2011, my doctor scheduled an ultrasound because of my dense breasts. The ultrasound found a tumor in each breast that the mammogram missed. After biopsies, I was given the results of breast cancer. After a bilateral mastectomy and sentinel lymph node biopsies, I learned that the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes on the right side. I am thrilled to report that I have finished chemo and will be starting radiation and I am feeling pretty good.
It wasn't until I recently requested all of my records and realized that I hadn't gotten an ultrasound a year earlier after my "normal" mammogram in 2010. So I find myself asking, "What if I had the ultrasound a year ealier? Would it have found the cancer early enough to not warrant chemo and radiation?" The cancer in my right breast was a grade 3 so it was aggressive. But I guess I will never know. I am going to keep looking forward instead of behind and I am committed to telling my story about the risks of dense breast tissue. Advocating for you and making sure your doctor is doing all that he/she should do may ultimately save your life.
Know your breast density - it is a matter of life!