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My FDA Testimony

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Joan Lunden

Joan's Blog / / September 16, 2016

On September 15, 2016, I attended the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) committee meeting of the National Mammography Quality Assurance Advisory Committee. I gave my own personal testimony about why it is so important that women in every state be given the potentially lifesaving information from mammograms about their breast density. 

What is breast density?

Your breasts are made up of ducts, lobules, and fatty and fibrous connective tissue. Your breasts can be considered dense if you have a lot of fibrous tissue and not as much fat in the breast.

If you have dense breasts, your fibrous tissue will appear white on a mammogram screen. This is concerning because tumors also appear white on a mammogram, so if you have dense breasts, a mammogram may miss detecting a tumor. Dense breasts is common, not abnormal, and you cannot tell if you have dense breasts by the size of your breasts or how much you weigh. It is important we understand breast density so we know how to make sense of our mammograms. If you have dense breasts, you could require an ancillary test

My Story:

On June 5, 2014, I went for my mammogram like I'd done every year. I even got a 3D mammogram that day. After that screening I got a clean bill of health. I then walked across the hall and had an ultrasound and I heard those words none of us ever want to hear, "You have cancer." I have dense breast tissue, so I get both a mammogram and an ultrasound screening, but had I not known I had dense breast tissue or that an ultrasound was recommended for me in addition, I would have only had a mammogram that day and not realized I had an aggressive tumor growing in my breast. This is why I go to Washington, knock on senator's doors, and give testimony to the FDA. 

Joan with Senator Chris Murphy, Connecticut

We are making Progress:

The good news is we are making progress. While there is no national standard, more than half of the U.S. states have a law requiring doctors and technicians to provide women with information about their breast density after their mammogram. Vermont passed legislation in May, and is the most recent state to pass such a law. 

Looking for a way you can help?

Support the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act.  Call your Senator and tell your story! Your voice matters!

Hear my full testimony in this video: 

Categories: Joan's Blog
About The Author
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Joan Lunden truly exemplifies today’s modern working woman. An award-winning journalist, bestselling author, motivational speaker, successful entrepreneur, one of America’s most recognized and trusted television personalities, this mom of seven continues to do it all. As host of Good Morning America for nearly two decades, Lunden brought insight to top issues for millions of Americans each day. The longest running host ever on early morning television, Lunden reported from 26 countries, covered 4 presidents and 5 Olympics and kept Americans up to date on how to care for their homes, their families and themselves.

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