Teresa's Story


Name: Teresa
State: New York
Date of Diagnosis: October 4, 2009
Age at Diagnosis: 52
Stage of Diagnosis:  Stage III
Time from "normal" mammogram to Stage 3 diagnosis:  Four months
How was cancer detected: By me

This is the same story that has already been told. I had a clear mammogram in June of 2009.  By October 4, 2009 I had an 8 cm tumor with cancerous lymph nodes - triple negative breast cancer.  I did all the right things.  I exercised and went to my doctor regularly.  I had no risk factors for breast cancer. The radiologist told me that the mammogram could not see my 8cm tumor because my breast tissue was too dense.   I replied, "why have I been getting a mammogram for 12 years???"   What a shock and what a false sense of security.  As I went through chemotherapy, surgery, more chemotherapy and radiation, I was praying for someone to say I was not alone.  I found Are You Dense web site through the CNN report and now I know I am not alone.  Now WE must tell ALL women our stories so they will know and be informed!!   My cancer should have been found EARLY - since I was a faithful patient.  NO one ever mentioned to me about my dense breasts and what that means to me.  If I had known I would have asked for supplemental screening!!   Please help me spread the word about dense breast tissue because your life matters. 


Teresa passed away on October, 27, 2011.  Her motivation and passion inspire us as we continue to educate the public about the risks and screening challenges of dense  breast tissue.  We are reminded often of Teresa's advocacy for legislation to standardize the communication of breast density to women.  We continue this work in her honor.

Teresa's husband, Towny, honors Teresa's mission with educational events and raises money to support breast density outreach and advocacy.

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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.