Okay my sisters with dense breasts – have you received a notice from your radiologist performing your mammograms that you have dense breasts? This is very important. My tumor was 8.5 cm just 10 months after my last mammogram which was allegedly clear. My particular type of breast cancer, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma (or ILC) is particularly sneaky in that it presents like a thickening of tissue and not like an identifiable lump or bump. Add dense breasts to the equation and I was just screwed six ways to Sunday.
Currently 30 states require some level of breast density notification after a mammogram (not including Indiana’s law).
Though some state laws are more similar than others, there is no standard from state-to-state on what patients are told or how patients will be informed.
I received the notification below from the radiologist who performed my mammogram in June of 2014:
“Your mammogram indicates that you have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is common and is found in forty percent of women. However, dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect cancers in the breast by mammography and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This information is being provided to raise awareness and to encourage you to discuss with your health care providers your dense breast tissue and other breast cancer risk factors. Together, you and your physician can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of your results was sent to your physician.”
I read this notification and threw it out. I just figured my mammogram was negative so I was fine, right? Dense schmense. Except just 10 months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer which turned out to be an 8.5 cm tumor. For those of you not familiar with breast cancer, 8.5 cm is a big fucking tumor. According to my surgeon this puppy was likely percolating before my 2014 mammogram especially since lobular tumors are slow growing. Please visit this website for more information and help get the word out. Mammograms are not foolproof, and if you have dense breasts, discuss additional imaging with your doctor.