Roberta heard about dense breast tissue but never knew what it meant to her. Six months after a "normal" mammogram, she felt a lump which was later confirmed to be an advanced stage breast cancer!
Date of Diagnosis: February 25, 2010
Age at Diagnosis: 52
Stage of Diagnosis: Stage III
Time from "normal" mammogram to Stage 3 diagnosis: 6 months
How was cancer detected: By me
Roberta's story: I had yearly mammograms and was never informed I have scattered mixed density. Many of my reports, generated from the radiologists, that were not shared with me state "dense breasts". I felt a lump and my physician said to wait a month to schedule the diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. In two weeks the arm on the same side swelled. She said that it was a probably a spider bite. In two days I had enough and scheduled the mammogram and ultrasound. No one indicated to me how likely it was to be cancer until I got the biopsy results - Cancer! Surgery revealed 16 positive nodes and a wide area of DCIS so my margins are not entirely clear. I have started chemotherapy which will involve a year of Herceptin. I will need "clean up" surgery and radiation. I am devastated. I had to quit my new job as a science writer with Stanford. I am a trained medical journalist who has written occaisonally on cancer and knew that dense breasts meant something, but I never knew just what. Now! I do, and I vow to do something so that other women will not have to travel this road.
Roberta passed on in March, 2013 after 3 years of treatment and hope. Roberta was one of the 7 founding members of D.E.N.S.E. She was a science writer and educated in the health, wellness and science field; yet was shocked, baffled and later outraged that no one ever bothered to tell her about the risks and screening challenges of dense breast tissue. Roberta joins Lori, another founding member of D.E.N.S.E. on the otherside.