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Letter to the Editor,
Last week, the fight against breast cancer in New York took a giant step forward when Governor Cuomo signed into law Breast Density Inform legislation sponsored by Senator John Flanagan and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee. As a breast cancer survivor whose later stage cancerous tumor was hidden from detection by dense breast tissue, I want to publicly thank all three officials for their efforts on this issue and for being willing to listen to one woman from Long Island and for working together to make sure that other women have the benefit of knowledge that I was never afforded.
While this new law will help by requiring that women are informed of the possibility that the density of their breast tissue could be concealing cancer from their doctor, it is vitally important that women throughout our state and our nation take the steps now to protect themselves. The reality is that the vast majority of women are unaware of the impact dense tissue has on the likelihood they will get cancer and many are completely unaware of their own density and therefore unaware of their own elevated risk for breast cancer.
The efforts of Senator Flanagan, Assembly member Jaffee and Governor Cuomo will provide many women with the knowledge they need and is a great sign of how government can work when it puts people first. A New York initiative has also led to introduction of a federal bill so women not lucky enough to live in N.Y. still learn of their density.
JoAnn Pushkin first learned of her own breast density on the same day she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Both the New York state and federal Breast Density Inform legislation were drafted at her request. She is now a full-time unpaid advocate supporting Breast Density Inform legislation around the country and is executive director of Are You Dense Advocacy Inc.