Cheri's Story

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Date of diagnosis:


Age at time of diagnosis:57
Stage of diagnosis:

Stage 4

NORMAL mammogram:
Eight months
prior to diagnosis
How was cancer diagnosed:
Palpable lump

Cheri's Story:

After discovering a lump in my breast, I went for my already scheduled annual mammogram which was NORMAL. I had annual mammograms for 15 years and was NEVER informed that I had DENSE BREAST TISSUE - not even after I reported the lump. Eight months after my NORMAL mammogram, I noticed the lump was growing and was visibly.  Since my mammo was normal and I knew nothing about MY dense breast tissue, I assumed it was a blocked duct. I decided to have it checked out.

My OBGYN ordered an ultrasound and immediately,  the same imaging office where my mammo 8 months prior was NORMAL,  ordered biopsy which confirmed INVASIVE breast cancer with mets to lungs, lymph nodes and bones. The radiologist showed me my previous mammogram and said that I have VERY dense breasts - but because I do not have a FAMILY HISTORY no ultrasound was recommended EVEN though I had a palpable lump.

My husband and I are now advocating that women MUST be informed of their dense breast tissue.  We can't help to think how different our lives would be had the radiologist told me of my dense breast tissue back in 2013. 

Post Script:  Cheri's Law Introduced by Senator Craighead of Nebraska One Year after Cheri's passing on January 10, 2017 to protect women of Nebraska from missed, delayed and advanced cancer and unnecessary death from breast cancer.  Press Release Here.

Tragically, Cheri passed on January 10, 2016.  Our hearts are broken for Cheri's husband, Bill and her family and loved ones.  We are saddened that Cheri, like 40-50% of women across the globe NEVER had equal access to an Early Diagnosis because of the masking of dense breast tissue by mammography.  If breast cancer screening reduces death from the disease, we must change this fatal flaw in breast cancer screening and give ALL women an opportunity to find cancer at its earliest stage. 


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  • 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 1/4 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 the densest 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.