GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch is many things. She’s a wife, an advocate, a lawyer and a survivor. For seven years Teresa received regular mammograms, never knowing that a tumor was growing more each year. Doctors told Teresa for seven years they didn’t see anything, but what doctors should have been telling Teresa is that they couldn’t see anything, due to her breast density. Dense tissue appears white on a mammogram and so does cancer, making it difficult to detect.
Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch first shared her breast cancer journey with WOTV 4 Women over two years ago. Since her breast cancer diagnosis, Teresa has been working to change Michigan law so that women with dense breast tissue are notified when they receive their mammogram results. On June 1st Teresa will see her hard work pay off, when the breast density bill officially takes effect.
State Senate Bill 879 mandates that women with dense breast tissue will be notified that they are dense on their mammogram results. Women with dense breasts will receive their annual mammogram results with the following information:
“Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer through a mammogram. Also, dense breast tissue may increase your risk for breast cancer. This information about the result of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness.
Use this information to discuss with your health care provider whether other supplemental tests in addition to your mammogram may be appropriate for you, based on your individual risk. A report of your results was sent to your ordering physician. If you are self-referred, a report of your results was sent to you in addition to this summary.”
State Senate Bill 879
To see more of Teresa’s story click the video player above to watch: Real Women. Real Stories: Breast Cancer.