Jean's Story

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Date of diagnosis:
June, 2014
Age at time of diagnosis: 
Stage of diagnosis: 
Time from Normal Mammogram:
How was cancer          diagnosed:                   
Stage 1  
7 months
Ultrasound - 3D mammography was Normal


Jean's Story: Even though I live in Virginia, I went to one of the best breast centers in New York State. I often had to return for biopsies but no one ever mentioned that I might benefit from an ultrasound because of my dense breast tissue. I trusted them and am so mad at what happened to me. They knew that mammograms are limited in dense breasts but no one ever recommenced an ultrasound

I asked my primary care doctor for a script for an ultrasound in April since I knew I had dense breast tissue. The breast center in Virginia did not want to give me an ultrasound and tried to convince me to not have it done. The technologist said, "Your 3D mammogram from November is normal. We do not do ultrasounds on women with NORMAL mammograms."
Even though I had a script, they wanted me to leave.  The radiologist reluctantly gave the nod, since I was at the facility and was not going to leave without an ultrasound.
Lo and behold, the radiologist comes in and tells me that there is a 1.9 cm mass in my left breast, seen on a technology that I had to nearly arm wrestle them to give me. Biopsy confirmed invasive cancer.  I was told that I had the cancer for 2 years - Two 'NORMA'L 3D mammograms!  Thank God I did not leave the facility!
The technologist and the radiologist were shocked when the mass was revealed on ultrasound.  They did not know what to say to me. There was no apology for 'almost' sending me away.  I knew when I left there they were going to think twice before they do this to any woman again. Their policy was changed because of me.
I am one of the lucky ones as I advocated for my own breast health. My invasive cancer was found early.  I had a lumpectomy and am on Femara. 
I often think if I listened to my health care providers and believed my 3D mammogram results, as they did, who knows how different my story might be.  I tell all my friends have ultrasounds.  


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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.