Date of Diagnosis: November 29, 2012
Age of Diagnosis: 65
Stage of Diagnosis: Stage 1B
Time from "normal" mammogram to diagnosis: One week
How was cancer detected?: by ultrasound
Because I live in Connecticut... the first state in the nation to enact density reporting legislation in 2009 ... I have been following up my "normal Happygram" immediately with a breast ultrasound, at my radiologist's suggestion. My 1 cm lesion, invisible by mammography, showed up clear as day on ultrasound which was later determined to be INVASIVE stage 1B breast cancer.
Following a lumpectomy, chemotherphy and radiation, I felt compelled to find out WHO was responsible for saving me from a delayed, late-stage breast cancer diagnosis and another year of false security. After researching, I found the AreYouDense.org website and read about the founder of Are You Dense, Inc. I picked up the phone and said, "Hello, Dr. Nancy Cappello? This is Jan. Thank YOU for saving my life. I love you. What can I do to help?"
Since that day, I am spreading the word about the impact of Dense Breast Tissue on MISSED/DELAYED and later stage breast cancer. What if I did not live in Connecticut and my invasive cancer was continually missed by mammography becasue of my dense breast tissue? I would be writing a different story now - one clearly more tragic - with NO mention of an EARLY diagnosis.
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Are You Dense, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity. IRS Tax ID 26-3643216. All donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law.
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.