Friends For Life: Dense Breast Bill

(WLNS) – A Michigan woman’s battle with breast cancer turned into a battle to change the law.

Wednesday afternoon, she was there when Governor Rick Snyder ceremoniously signed the “breast density bill.”

It was the first story in the 6 News’ Friends for Life series, the story of Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch, a woman who routinely got mammograms, but after an MRI, she was told she had breast cancer and it had been there for years.

Doctors couldn’t see it because of her dense tissue, so she worked to change the law, so every woman with dense breast tissue knows it and has the option for more screening.

“I look at this as a real game changer in breast cancer diagnosis. We’re going to find cancers earlier and when their survival rates are better,” said Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch, breast density advocate.

It’s a great day for the girls.

Governor Snyder ceremoniously signed Michigan’s breast density bill. The legislation tells women who have dense breasts tissue they have dense tissue and they might need might additional screening to see cancer.

“For the first time ever in Michigan women are going to have the information needed to catch cancer early,” said Hendricks-Pitsch.

Teresa Hendricks-Pitsch has been a part of this bill since her cancer diagnosis.

In her case her tumor was hidden on mammograms because of her dense tissue.

With this new law women will receive a letter with their mammogram results telling them if they’re at a higher risk for finding cancer and if an MRI might be a better option.

“This law is important because it gives a woman one more piece of information so that she is able to advocate for herself and talk to her doctor,” said Jennifer Jurgins, executive director, Susan G. Komen, Michigan.

“In Michigan there are 3,000 women who don’t know they have dense breast tissue but come June 1st this law is gonna change that>

Advocates say knowing you’re dense could give you the screening to save your life.

“If a woman finds breast cancer before it leaves the breast she now has a 99 percent survival rate.”

Snyder officially signed the bill in December. So Wednesday’s ceremony was solely symbolic. The Breast Cancer Density Law goes into effect June 1.

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