The Fog of Density: A Perfect Storm for Improving Breast Cancer Screening
From the blog: I was on-deck at the set of Better Connecticut in June, 2014 getting ready to discuss, yet again, my dense breasts and the Mission of Are You Dense, Inc. to promote our upcoming MusicFest Fundraiser. Multitasking as usual, I was flipping through the latest news on dense breast tissue and stumbled on Joan Lunden's blog. My eyes widened and my heart sank as Joan revealed her triple negative breast cancer diagnosis which, invisible by 3D mammogram, was discovered by ultrasound. While not shocked that dense breasts hid cancer on mammography, I was stunned that it was Joan Lunden, my breakfast mate for nearly two decades.
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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.
American College of Radiology describes women with "Dense Breast Tissue" as having a higher than average risk of Breast Cancer.
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.
A substantial proportion of Breast Cancer can be attributed to high breast density alone.
Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.
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.