What your Breast Density Notification should have said
Dear Woman who recently had a mammogram,
"I am pleased to let you know that the results of your mammogram are normal. There are no signs of breast cancer.
To help you lower your risk of breast cancer we encourage you to:
Continue to have regular mammograms.
Exercise (such as brisk walking)
Maintain a healthy weight.
Eat a diet with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy.
Limit alcohol use.
If you smoke stop.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women...."
This is word for a word an actual letter that is being sent to women to notify them that they have dense breast tissue. While it's a nice note and has some nice tips. It gives no sense of the actual purpose and obligation of the letter to legally notify this woman that she has dense breast tissue.
IT ISN'T UNTIL AFTER all that there's a line that says, "Your mammogram also shows that you have dense breast tissue, if you have any questions please contact our office." (Assuming the woman read past the first line that says she's all clear.)
The truth is that, there are no signs of breast cancer, because the mammogram is unable to clearly detect breast cancer in dense breast tissue. What this notification should have said in the very first sentence is, "Your mammogram is inconclusive, further screening is required. Please call our office to schedule your adjunct screening today."
The language in the letters currently being sent to women is dangerous and misleading. At best it's confusing, the woman assumes she's fine and goes on with her day, hopefully that's true but we don't really know without further screening. And at worst it's devastating, a woman assumes she's fine and her breast cancer goes undetected until it reaches advanced stages.
Please ask questions, please take steps to do the follow up screenings if you receive a breast density notification, please get support from your physician to get the adjunct screening, Breast, Ultrasound or MRI.
You can read more about dense breast tissue HERE
You can receive our Mammogram Guide HERE