Empty rhetoric, not acceptable from Breast Cancer Screening

I appeal to our Breast Cancer Screening Programmes to seriously consider what is happening here, everyday.

Women are doing everything possible to maintain optimum Breast Cancer Screening. They go for their Mammogram. The gold standard for Population Breast Cancer Screening.

I did everything possible, I never missed a Mammogram, but I wasn’t given certain, critical information.

Over almost 10 years of Breast Cancer Screening I wasn’t once told that I had Dense Breasts. I’d never even heard the terminology. I only discovered those words, after my Breast Cancer Diagnosis. From my learned experience and years of Advocacy I appeal to our National Screening Service, please don’t continue to perpetuate the narrative that Breast Density is something we don’t do here. Women deserve so much better than empty rhetoric and excuses.

After my Diagnosis, I asked why my 7cm Invasive Breast Cancer wasn’t seen on my Screening Mammogram 6 months earlier
(see image below), no one answered me in earnest. I was told ‘we’ll never know’

After dose dense Chemotherapy, after nerve damaging Mastectomy, after Axillary Node Clearance, after Radiotherapy AND only after I repeatedly and persistently asked, I was eventually told ….
#breastdensity is not part of the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)
I was told my Breast Cancer was a true Interval Cancer – really?
I was told my Breast Cancer was ‘Unseen with Learning Points – really?

Well I would now like to see those Learning Points in action 🎬

The Clinical evidence is visible on Imaging
The Clinical Trial results are published and there are specific recommendations from the European Society of Breast Imaging https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00330-022-08617-6

Women are still being fobbed off and consequently their Breasts are being lopped off.

Had I been notified about my Breast Density, I would have availed of additional Screening by Ultrasound or MRI. My Breast Cancer would have been found much earlier. I may not have had to have a Mastectomy or Chemotherapy.

My Breast Cancer was allowed to develop, and spread.
All my Screening Mammograms were reported as ‘Clear’ (see image)

Everday, I hear similar stories from Women who went for their Mammograms believing that it was the best thing to do. They believed that if they were to develop Breast Cancer, it would be found early on their Screening Mammogram. Every year hundreds of Women discover that their Mammograms weren’t enough!

Please change the rhetoric, please change the narrative, please tell Women when their Mammograms cannot be reliably interpreted because they have Dense Breasts.

40% of our Screening Population have #DenseBreasts but we won’t tell them that, because we don’t do that here.

Health Service Executive
National Cancer Registry Ireland
Royal College of Physicians of Ireland
Marie Keating Foundation Irish Cancer Society
Breast Cancer Ireland
European Society of Radiology
European Society for Breast Imaging (EUSOBI)

Breast Density masking 4cm Invasive Breast Cancer

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