|Date of diagnosis:||October 1, 2014|
|Age at time of diagnosis:||29|
|Stage of diagnosis:||1a|
|Date of mammogram:||Sept. 16. 2014|
|How was cancer diagnosed:||Felt by me, detected by ultrasound|
Brittany's Story: At 29 years old and with no family history, it is not even recommended for me to have an annual mammogram. Twenty-nine-year-old breasts are usually pretty dense, anyway, making mammograms almost obsolete. I had a slight shooting pain radiate through my breast and found a lump in my right breast and, fortunately, my first screening was an ultrasound. On September 16th, I had a follow-up mammogram that was only dubbed as "inconclusive" versus "normal" due to the fact that I had a palpable lump and an abnormal ultrasound. "Cancer doesn't hurt" and "You're too young" were told by me by several health care providers. If only they were right. A biopsy then confirmed the worst: I had invasive ductal breast cancer. After my mastectomy, pathology results showed that my tumor was 1.7 cm and the cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes. I was diagnosed as stage 1A, Triple Negative Breast Cancer. I had a mastectomy and am completing chemotherapy. To me, however, the most important aspect of this is my two daughters,currently ages four and one and a half. Because of my diagnosis at such a young age, it is now recommended for them to start breast cancer screenings at 19 years old. With my new knowledge about mammograms and dense breasts, I will be able to advocate for better screening methods for them when mammograms appear "normal" on their young, dense breasts.
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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.