Deb's story



State: Pennsylvania

Date of diagnosis:

July 5, 2018
Age at time of diagnosis: 


Stage of diagnosis: 

Stage 2          

Time from 'Normal' Mammogram to diagnosis

2 months

How was cancer detected?

Felt by Deb

Deb's Story:

A daughter's love for her mom - Wendy, a teacher, tells the story of her mother, Deb's'diagnosis. While residing in PA, Deb is being treated at Johns Hopkins.

My mom, a retired teacher, has always had dense breast tissue and is aware of that. She has also had fluid filled cysts in her breasts for years that come and go and sometimes she has had them aspirated.

She had a mammogram in March 2018. It came back with no concerns. She also had a gynecology exam with a physical exam of the breasts in May. Again no concerns. Two weeks later, while pulling her hair up she noticed that the side of her breast was sunken in. Immediately contacted her family doctor who sent her for an ultrasound, followed by an MRI then a biopsy and five days later a diagnosis of invasive lobular carcinoma and a 5cm mass.

When the breast surgeon at Johns Hopkins reviewed her records he said it’s likely be growing for two years!!!

She and I both have dense breast tissue. Her cancer is not genetic it is HER2+, PR+ and ER+.

She is being treated aggressively with 6 treatments to shrink the large 5cm cancer which will be followed by surgery. 

Had an ultrasound at least been done, an MRI, a Biopsy...the thought to be benign cyst is not an acceptable comment on a report from a mammogram. The protocol for early detection needs to be reviewed!!

From Deb about her mom Wendy: My mom is an amazing woman who raised me to be a strong and empathetic and compassionate woman who has a voice!  Somehow, things need to change and radiologists and doctors must be more aggressive in identifying breast cancer

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  • Are You Dense? Fact #1:

    Breast density is one of the strongest predictors of the failure of mammography screening to detect cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #2:

    Two-thirds of pre-menopausal women and 1/4 of post menopausal women have dense breast tissue. 

  • Are You Dense? Fact #3:

    Adding more sensitive tests to mammography significantly increase detection of invasive cancers that are small and node negative.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #4:

    American College of Radiology describes women with "Dense Breast Tissue" as having a higher than average risk of Breast Cancer.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #5:

    While a mammogram detects 98% of cancers in women with fatty breasts, it finds only 48% in women with the densest breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #6:

    A woman at average risk and a woman at high risk have an EQUAL chance of having their cancer masked by mammogram.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #7:

    Women with dense breasts who had breast cancer have a four times higher risk of recurrence than women with less-dense breasts.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #8:

    A substantial proportion of Breast Cancer can be attributed to high breast density alone.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #9:

    Cancer turns up five times more often in women with extremely dense breasts than those with the most fatty tissue.

  • Are You Dense? Fact #10

    There are too many women who are unaware of their breast density, believe their “Happy Gram” when it reports no significant findings and are at risk of receiving a later stage cancer diagnosis.