Breast Cancer

Our current situation: Each year we have Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with lots of pink clothing and fundraising walks and runs. And the message most of us know is that women should get mammograms. But many women are not getting additional information that is vitally important. My wife is a perfect example.

In 2012 she was concerned about a breast lump, but her January 2013 mammogram was negative. When she was more concerned in June, an ultrasound and MRI showed she had stage 3 breast cancer.

By the grace of God, she is responding well to her treatment, and we expect a full recovery. But with an earlier diagnosis, it might have been better. And without her persistence, it could have been a lot worse. Our families need valuable information which I will share below.

My solution: According to recent information from the Mayo Clinic, 60 percent or more of cancer in women with dense breast tissue is missed when the medical staff relies solely on mammograms. And 30 to 40 percent of women have dense breast tissue.

Some states have new laws requiring doctors to tell women that some breast cancer may not show up in mammograms of their dense breast tissue. In principle, I do not think it is government’s job to tell doctors what they should tell their patients. But I do think it is important that women know this information so they know to have the appropriate conversations with their doctors.

In addition to this posting, which I hope gets the word out to many, I will be working with breast cancer awareness groups to make us all aware of this critical information.