I started Breast Screening in my 40s.
There’s no history of Breast Cancer in my family. When I turned 50 I was advised to register with BreastCheck the National Breast Cancer Screening service. I never missed an appointment. I was never recalled by BreastCheck for additional screening and all my Mammograms were reported clear.
I had been aware that my Breasts were quite ‘lumpy’ particularly my right Breast. I mentioned it to my GP several times. I had it checked in the hospital more than once and it was deemed to be normal and might be hormonal changes, I was told to take Primrose Oil and not to be concerned, they were ‘cysts’
It never occurred to me that the Expert Radiologists who I had put my trust in, viewed my Mammograms and decided not to advise me that I had Extremely Dense Breasts.
For over 30 years it has been known that the reliability and sensitivity of a Mammogram is reduced for women with Dense Breasts.
For women like me, with Extremely Dense Breasts, the sensitivity of my Mammograms (to detect Cancer) was only 30%
Radiologists knew this. They failed to tell me, not once or twice but EVERY time I had a Screening Mammogram.
A woman has no way of knowing that she has Dense Breasts other than by having a Mammogram. The Radiologists who read your Mammograms do know, they can see Density clearly. Its the WHITE areas that contrast against the dark area on your Mammogram image.
Unfortunately Breast Cancer also shows WHITE on a Mammogram.
WHITE on WHITE is difficult to discern clearly, so when a Radiologist can see that a woman has Very Dense Breasts, the woman should (1) be told and (2) recalled for a Breast Ultrasound.
By the time I knew anything about Breast Density, it was too late. My Right Breast had a 7cm Tumour, slowly growing and spreading into my Lymph nodes. It had been there for several years.
If any of the many Radiologists who read my Screening Mammograms had recalled me for an Ultrasound my Cancer would have been found earlier.
If any of the Radiologists had even told me that my Breast Tissue type was Extremely Dense, I would have made sure that I had an Ultrasound, at the very least, perhaps an MRI.
It’s in YOUR Breast Interests to know about YOUR Breast Density.
Women should be able to trust their Breast Screening and their Radiologists. We should be routinely advised of any personal risk factors as determined by our Mammogram.
A woman with Dense Breasts has an increased risk of developing Breast Cancer. The risk is greater than having 1st relative familial history.
Please raise this issue in any way you can.
Tell the women you know. Share tis post. Ask about your own personal Breast Density. It’s your personal biological marker.
Breast Density is not abnormal tissue, it didn’t cause my Breast Cancer. Not knowing, not being told, meant that Early Detection was not an option afforded to me because my Screening Mammograms were not reliably interpreted.
Ticking the box is NOT enough.
My Breasts were NOT Clear, they were Dense, Extremely Dense.