Changing Times

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It is fair to say that there has been a seismic shift with regards to how we access information in relation to our health. Social media platforms have opened up channels of communication, patients have a voice and are being listened to like never before. Women in particular are no longer happy with the paternalistic approach which has been operating in relation to many aspects of their health and wellbeing.

Recently Ireland voted overwhelmingly to Repeal the 8th amendment in our constitution. Repeal of Article 40.3.3, which we have lived with since 1983, means that women now have the right to choose.  We voted unanimously to “trust women” and to ensure better, safer health care for both those who want to end their pregnancies and those who wish to keep them. No one wants others to endure shame, stress, financial hardship, forced treatment, impairment or death because of a difference in moral beliefs.  Repealing the 8th became the civil rights issue for a generation who pushed through same-sex marriage and who have never had the opportunity to vote in a referendum for change like this before.

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Families in Ieland have recently had to deal with significant shortcomings in our CervicalCheck screening programme and the Recent Cervical Check audit brought to light major failings in CervicalCheck screening reporting. Women owe a debt of gratitude to Vicky Phelan who alerted us to her missed diagnosis and forced a National conversation in relation to this.

There have also been recommendations made in relation to BreastCheck Screening

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HIQUA Health Information and Quality Assurance  Date of publication: BreastCheck should improve information management to provide a high quality breast cancer screening service.

Women welcome these changes  and we welcome a move towards a more transparent approach to our Health Screening Services and in particular the resulting reporting systems.

http://www.Beingdense.com is a patient advocacy and awareness blog that focusses on the issue of Breast Density and associated Breast Screening risk.  We have been established for over 2 years.  We have recently attended a number of Breast Cancer symposiums and Conferences in Ireland and it is both heartening and reassuring to know that Ireland is among world leaders in terms of Breast Cancer Research as was evident this week at ASCO2018 in Chicago

It has also been wonderful to meet other passionate groups of people; patients, oncologists, radiologists, researchers and scientists. BeingDense has been welcomed into the world of Patient Advocacy, for that we are grateful and in particular to the following:

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Marie Ennis O’ Connor

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Marie is an internationally recognized keynote speaker, writer, and consultant on global trends in patient engagement, digital health, and participatory medicine. Marie works tirelessly on Patient Advocacy and it was our pleasure to meet her in Dublin recently.

Ladies – Be smart about Being Dense

The next time you have a mammogram, ASK THE QUESTION  – DO I HAVE DENSE BREASTS?

The only way to determine or measure Breastdensity is by having a mammogram.

WHY then are women not given this information?

Awareness is the greatest precursor  for change so let’s continue collectively to raise awareness and make positive change.

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Women need Breast Density notification as part of routine reporting criteria within all our Breast Screening Programmes.

It is widely recognised that mammogram alone is not enough for women with heterogeneous or extremely dense breasts and until this anomaly in breast screening is addressed these women will continue to be at risk of delayed diagnosis, node positive advanced breast cancer and unecessary mastectomies.

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Now you see it >>>Now you don’t! See how the cancer tumour is obscured in Dense Breast Tissue on the right side mammogram image.

Do you know if you have Dense Breasts?

For more information on Breast Density risk factors, visit any listed below sources

http://www.beingdense.com http://www.areyoudense.org http://www.Densebreast-info.org http://www.inforMd.org.au

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5 thoughts on “Changing Times

    1. Thank you Marie. I get enormous personal satisfaction from the Breast Density advocacy and I do believe some one, hopefully many, will benefit and in time it will be given full recognition in Radiology Breast Screening reporting protocols in Ireland.
      You are a joy to listen to. You really enhanced the discussion after the recent Europadonna AGM. Great work.

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  1. Siobhan, you are doing important work, and I’m impressed. My mammogram showed I had dense breasts, but at the time, no other diagnostic testing was done. Six months later, and I found the tumor myself during a monthly self-exam. My breasts are so dense, in fact, I opted for a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy with DIEP flap reconstruction. One of the best decisions I made.

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    1. Thanks so much Beth. It’s lovely to get such positive feedback. It is so difficult to understand why women are not routinely told about their breast density. Your experience is not unfamiliar to me and unfortunately is still happening due to lack of information. 83% of women do not know about Breastdensity, some have never heard the term Density used in relation to Breast Screening. Really appreciate your msg. Thank you.

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