In the News

The Global Impact of Are You Dense Inc.

PR Newswire

Joseph Cappello, founder of the 'Are You Dense?' Foundation presented the first in a series of Cancer Research & Innovations awards to diagnostic imaging specialist Dr. Robert Bard (NYC).

Read more: "Are You Dense?" Foundation Launches National Recognition for Clinical Advancements in Dense Breast Imaging



“I want to help other women,” said Ms. Cappello, formerly the state’s chief of special education. “I can’t help myself. My cancer should have been detected at a much earlier stage.”

Read more: New York Times - Laws Tell Mammogram Clinics to Address Breast Density


Wall Street Journal

“When her doctor found a suspicious ridge during a manual exam eight years ago, she had a mammogram and an ultrasound on the same day. The mammogram again spotted nothing amiss, but an ultrasound found a tumor the size of a quarter. Her breast cancer had also spread to 13 lymph nodes.”

Read More: Wall Street Journal - The Latest Mammogram Controversy: Density


" Nancy Cappello was proactive. When she turned 36, she had a baseline mammogram, a standard medical recommendation in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a comparison tool for future screenings. At 40, Cappello started getting them annually. Six weeks after her 11th-consecutive normal mammogram, she was diagnosed with Stage IIIc breast cancer."

Read More: Leap Magazine - This Woman’s Cancer Battle Could Help You Avoid the Same Fate


US News & World Report - Health

"As noted in JAMA, revised screening protocols for dense breast tissue are largely due to the tireless efforts of Dr. Nancy Cappello, herself a survivor of cancer in dense breasts, missed by mammography and found at a late stage. Turning that adversity into opportunity as only the true heroes among us ever do, Nancy founded the charity Are You Dense to protect other women with dense breasts from the false sense of security mammography was apt to provide them. Standard mammography is ill-suited to detect the early signs of cancer in dense breast tissue, which is present in as many as 40 percent of all women."

Read More:  US News & World Report - Dense Breast Screening: Dense If We Do, Dense If We Don't?

MEDICAL PHYSICS - International Journal of Research and Practice

"Cappello, an educator by profession had ten previous “normal” annual mammograms until 2004, where she was diagnosed with Stage 3c cancer. Her doctor in her annual checkup felt a suspicious “mass” in her breast just two months after another normal mammogram in November 2003. During her investigations about why the mammogram had been reported normal, she found out why her mammograms had missed the breast cancer earlier—she had dense breasts. Cappello's experience led to the birth of the women's advocacy movement, Are You Dense,which has powerfully argued that women have a right to be told their breast density following a mammogram, and that they should be informed of their screening choices if they do have “dense” breasts.

Read More:  Vision 20/20 Mammographic Breast Density and its Clinical Application



"As articulated by Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., who founded the non-profit organization AreYouDense, women have every right to know if they have dense breasts and if they’re at increased risk for a hidden tumor. She called the false reassurance of a negative mammogram a Happygram – referring to when a woman with dense breasts is told her screening mammogram is normal or doesn’t show breast cancer, but in fact the test is uninterpretable."

Read More: Forbes - Mandatory Reporting of Breast Density in Screening -- Why the Controversy?



"Dense breast tissue is much more common among women in Japan than in the United States, meaning that techniques in addition to mammography are needed for effective detection. That’s a message Cappello delivered in July to an audience of healthcare specialists at the annual Japanese Breast Cancer Society conference in Tokyo. Reached by email after the event, Cappello said she was “stunned” to learn that screening rates for the disease were so low in Japan. She believes a similar type of advocacy to what she has championed in the US may be needed to improve the situation.

Read More: EuroBiz Japan - Low screening has rates on the rise in Japan pages 12-15


European Hospital 

"You don't want Nancy Cappello mad at you....What made her angry was that for years she had been receiving what she calls "Happygrams," yearly mammograms that said she had no problems. When she asked why the mammogram had not detected her cancer earlier she was told her breasts were dense."

Read More: Healthcare in Europe - Women Have a Right to Make Informed Decisions


  • Are You Dense? Fact #1:

    Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #2:

    Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and 40% of post-menopausal women have dense breast tissue. 

  • Are You Dense? Fact #3:

    Adding more sensitive tests to mammography significantly increase detection of invasive cancers that are small and node negative.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #4:

    American College of Radiology describes women with "Dense Breast Tissue" as having a higher than average risk of Breast Cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #5:

    While a mammogram detects 98% of cancers in women with fatty breasts, it finds only 48% in women with dense breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #6:

    A woman at average risk and a woman at high risk have an EQUAL chance of having their cancer masked by mammogram.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #7:

    Women with dense breasts who had breast cancer have a four times higher risk of recurrence than women with less-dense breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #8:

    A substantial proportion of Breast Cancer can be attributed to high breast density alone.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #9:

    Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #10

    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.