She did two miles a day on her treadmill every day, and in September of this year, she got on it and said, "I can't do this today." And the same thing happened the next day. She went to the hospital and was admitted, underwent a bone marrow biopsy and was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome or MDS, a blood cancer. It resulted from her previous cancer treatment. A perfect match was found for a bone marrow transplant, which was supposed to happen this December, but she contracted an infection with Clostridium difficile, went into septic shock, and died.
HealthCentral: Nancy spread the word about breast density, and she and you both saw some of the positive results. Now you have research to back it up. Tell us more.
Donna: A study, reporting on a national survey and published in October 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, confirmed that density reporting laws are associated with increased breast density awareness and higher rates of conversations between women and their providers about additional screening. We also learned that nearly 90 percent of women, regardless of density law status, want to know their breast tissue type.
HealthCentral: Not everyone in medicine has said that additional screenings are such a great idea. Why?
Donna: Some doctors said, "We don't want to alarm women," by telling them they have dense breasts or suggesting additional screenings. Do they think women are frightened by the information? I think maybe it shows a lack of respect for women.
HealthCentral: What can women do who need a 3D mammogram or additional screenings with ultrasound or breast MRI, but their insurance doesn't cover it and they can't afford it?
Donna: There are multiple organizations out there that will provide screening support. We even have a fund in my office that we call "Pink 4 All" that helps women in our office pay for their screenings. Multiple foundations are connected to hospitals, and these help women get their screenings. Some imaging centers have a specific day each year when they provide free screenings. We help at Are You Dense? by donating to certain organizations that provide mammogram help. Go to the Susan G. Komen website and scroll down to "Low-cost and free mammograms" at the bottom of the page.
See more helpful articles:
How Do I Know if I Have Dense Breast Tissue?
Dense Breasts? AI Can Assess as Reliably as Radiologists
Understanding the Limitations of Mammograms