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Link Confirmed Between Breast Density & Cancer Risk
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Women with dense breast tissue are at greater risk for breast cancer. But it can be hard for mammograms to find tumors in women with dense breasts. In Connecticut, those women may be eligible for supplementary screening tests. WNPR’s Diane Orson reports.

Nancy Capello was diagnosed with advanced stage 3 breast cancer just weeks after a mammogram said she was cancer free.

"I asked my breast surgeon, why didn’t the mammogram find the cancer and she had said to me, well Nancy you have dense breast tissue. That was the first time that I heard that term."

Dense breast tissue may hide cancer tumors on mammograms. But according to the American Medical Association ultrasound screening increases the number of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer by 42%. Capello has worked with Connecticut legislators to pass laws related to breast density.

"The first law requires insurance companies to cover an ultrasound as a supplement to the mammogram for women with dense tissue."

And last year Connecticut became the first state in the nation to require that mammogram reports include information about breast density. A study just released by the Mayo Clinic further confirms the link between breast density and cancer risk. 

For WNPR, I’m Diane Orson.