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Mammography uses radiation to see through your
breast tissue, and it just can't see well through
dense tissue. It's like looking for a snowball in a
snowstorm. Mammography is not enough of an
examination for your tissue type. You also need to
have an ultrasound examination."
The ultrasound re-
vealed a 1.7cm invasive
ductal carcinoma...yes,
cancer...that was later con-
firmed by the pathologist. At
diagnosis, it was the size of a
walnut, and was just getting
ready to spread into Chiqee-
ta's lymph nodes. She kept
wondering how big her can-
cer would have been back
in April; if it had been dis-
covered earlier, would she have had to have those
eight rounds of chemo, 30 days of radiation, and be
thrown into menopause which took away any pos-
sibility of having children...all in her second year of
marriage? Chiqeeta says, "The answer is probably
not."
Before we move ahead to the moral of this
story, here is some critical information that every
woman (because we all have breasts) should know:
"You cannot tell breast density by look, size
or touch. Forty-seven percent of women in the U.S.
have dense breast tissue (DBT). Mammography
misses over fifty percent of cancers in women with
DBT, and yet it has been the standard screening for
women in the U.S. for fifty years. Over seventy per-
cent of all breast cancers occur in women with DBT.
Over seventy-five percent of all women don't know
their breast tissue type. If you have ever had a mam-
mogram, you can call the office of the screening
facility and ask for information about your breast
density from the report. Be aware that your breast
density may be different in each breast. If you are
dense (www.areyoudense.org, www.eachonetel-
lone.org), ask your doctor what additional breast
examination and screening may be a good choice
for you." ~Joni Aldrich, Advocacy Heals U
How do I know how important this is? Sev-
eral years ago, Chiqeeta flew me to a medical facil-
ity in Missouri to have my own SonoCiné (meaning
sound in motion) Automated Whole Breast Ultra-
sound (AWBUS). Dr. Kelly was initial in developing
this state-of-the-art technology to detect more and
smaller cancers in women with dense breast tis-
sue than by mammography
alone. I had had a similar
feeling that my mammo-
grams were not telling the
whole truth. Sure enough,
I had two intraductal pap-
illomas hiding in the dense
breast tissue of my left
breast. After a needle core
biopsy and a surgical biopsy,
I was assured that all of the
"suspicious" cells were gone.
Unless my breast density changes (which it can do),
I will continue to insist on an ultrasound in addition
to my regular mammograms--even if I have to pay
for it myself. This is my body...I have a responsibility
to be sure that doctors know as much about it as
they need to know.
Women...take fifteen minutes to watch If
You're Dense, You Need to be Smart, Chiqeeta
Jameson, TEDxLoyolaMarymountU on YouTube.
What you learn may save your life.