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The Importance of Breast Density

Updated: Apr 25, 2023




Breast density is a key factor in screening for breast cancers. If a patient has dense breasts, there is a four to six times higher chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer and a possibility that a routine mammogram can miss up to 50% of breast cancers.1 Having dense breasts could also delay a timely diagnosis, and many patients are diagnosed with late-stage cancer. GPAC had the good fortune to interview two amazing advocates who are raising awareness about breast density and lobbying for the medical community and insurance providers to change criteria and standards to improve breast screening in patients with dense breasts. Leslie Ferris Yerger is the founder and CEO of My Density Matters, a nonprofit organization that she created to empower women to find out their breast density, learn their screening options, and insist on essential additional screening. Leslie also started the Check Your Chart Campaign, an education to ACTION initiative inspiring women to obtain their mammogram report from their online patient portal, learn their breast density, and communicate with their doctor(s) to collaborate on additional breast cancer screening. Siobhan Freeney is also a breast-density advocate in Europe. She lives in Ireland, and she started www.beingdense.com in 2016 after being diagnosed with Stage 3 lobular breast cancer just 5 months after a clear mammogram. She is working within the medical community, attending breast cancer symposiums, and striving to improve guidelines in Europe for early detection. Currently, Europe does not have a Standardised Breast Density Notification Protocol. The European Society of Breast Imaging (EUSOBI) has recommended that ALL Women should be appropriately notified about their individual Category of Breast Density but this is not yet routinely happening. The Dense Trial DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1903986 has resulted in the following recommendations EUSOBI Recommendations (March 2022) European Guidelines are under review, and a conclusion is expected by the end of 2023. Leslie and Siobhan had similar experiences in having a late-stage breast cancer diagnosis very shortly after having a clear routine mammogram. Both women were surprised to learn that they had dense breast tissue that may have prevented an earlier diagnosis. These amazing patient advocates have made it their mission to raise awareness about breast density and provide information to patients and medical providers that will help with early detection. Check out our interviews on our YouTube channel!



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