Woodbury resident Nancy M. Cappello, PhD, Founder and Executive Director of two non-profit, global organizations Are You Dense, Inc.and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. and nationally prominent breast cancer survivor advocate and former “Good Morning America” co-host Joan Lunden together met with federal policy makers in Washington D.C. to discuss the research supporting and importance of a national standard of breast density reporting.
The reason the two teamed up is clear. Both share the conviction about the importance of women having knowledge of their dense breast tissue and to determine with their physicians whether or not added screening is needed to avoid missed, delayed and later stage cancer.
Cappello is a stage 3c breast cancer survivor and inspiration behind Connecticut’s landmark breast density laws. Lunden is a breast cancer survivor whose stage 2 breast cancer, also masked by mammography because of her dense breast tissue, was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last June.
“We are grateful to have Joan Lunden join our effort to pass national legislation which enables all women to be informed of their breast tissue density and to have access to secondary screening,” states Cappello. “Our meeting in Washington helps further education of this important women’s breast health issue.”
Having a similar experience with dense breast tissue hiding cancer after a mammogram, Lunden recounts her story, “Last June I walked out of my 3D mammogram with a clean bill of health, then walked across the hall for my ultrasound and found out I had breast cancer. If it wasn’t for an interview I did with Dr. Susan Love five years ago, I would have never have known that since I have dense breast tissue I should be following up my mammograms with ultrasounds. None of my doctors ever told me this. It’s a scary thought to think where I would be now if I didn’t have that ultrasound.”
Dr. Judith Salerno, Susan G Komen CEO and President, and Connecticut resident Anne Morris, Chief Executive Officer, Komen CT, joined the duo as they met with Connecticut policy makers including Senator Chris Murphy and Representative Rosa Delauro. Representative Rosa Delauro has championed a national density reporting law for several years.
“There are innumerable women across this country that have unequal access to the purpose of breast cancer screening, especially if they are relying on their mammography alone to find cancer at its earliest stage,” claims Cappello. “A national density reporting law will leave no one blindsided and potentially harmed by their dense breast tissue.”
Currently 22 states have density reporting laws, inspired by Connecticut’s landmark density reporting law in 2009. Research for decades demonstrates that dense breast tissue is the strongest predictor of the failure of mammography to detect cancer; missing every other cancer in dense breasts.