Montclair New Jersey Breast Center Supports “Are You Dense?” Day to Increase Awareness of Dense Breast Tissue

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Dr. Nancy Elliott, Director and Founder of Montclair Breast Center, NJ, advocates for “Are You Dense?” legislation in New Jersey.

Left: minimally dense breast tissue. Right: dense breast tissue.

“Dense breast tissue can potentially hide tumors in the breast which makes cancer much more difficult to diagnosis, “said Dr. Elliott, Director and Founder of Montclair Breast Center, NJ.

On October 30th, Senator Joe Crisco and Dr. Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., and Founder of Are You Dense, Inc., hosted “Are You Dense?” Day at the Connecticut State Capital, commemorating new legislation requiring women to be informed about their increased risk for breast cancer. “There are too many women who are unaware of their breast density, believe their “happy gram” when it reports “normal” and are at risk of receiving a late-stage cancer diagnosis,” Cappello said.

Many women have experienced consecutive years of ‘normal’ mammograms only to suddenly find themselves diagnosed with late stage breast cancer. Unfortunately, most women are not aware if they have “dense breasts,” or how this impacts their chances for early detection of breast cancer.

According to Are You Dense, Inc., 2/3 of pre-menopausal and 1/4 of post-menopausal women have less than a 48% chance of breast cancer being detected by a traditional mammogram due to having “dense breasts.” This was the case for Dr. Nancy M. Cappello, whose advanced stage breast cancer was diagnosed within weeks of a 'normal' mammogram and was preceded by a decade of mammograms with “no significant findings.”

After a mastectomy, reconstruction, 8 chemotherapy treatments and 24 radiation treatments, Dr. Cappello is a breast cancer survivor who has become an impressive advocate for early detection of breast cancers. She founded Are You Dense, Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. to inform the public about the serious impact of dense breast tissue in the screening and diagnostics for breast cancer.

According to Dr. Elliott, New Jersey’s first Fellowship Trained breast surgeon, dense breast tissue can potentially hide tumors in the breast which makes cancer much more difficult to diagnosis. According to Dr. Elliott, women with dense breasts should be getting a 3D mammogram and in addition a second level screening test — a breast ultrasound, breast MRI, or possibly a nuclear medicine test.

“Even if the 3D mammogram is normal women with dense breasts should still be having these additional screenings because half of cancers are not seen on a dense breast mammogram. Breast cancer is the number one cause of death for women age 40 to 55. Having dense breast tissue on your mammogram increases your risk of developing breast cancer 4 fold,” says Dr. Elliott.

Dr. Stacey Vitiello, a Montclair Breast Center Radiologist/Breast Imager who fellowship trained at Yale, says, “I can tell you based on voluminous evidence in the scientific literature as well as from clinical experience that if you have dense breast tissue (determined from a mammogram, not from physical exam), the odds of finding a cancer on your mammogram are about equal to a coin toss.”

Montclair Breast Center was one of the first such practices to recommend additional screening for women with dense breasts and advocated strongly for a N.J. Breast Density Inform Bill, which is currently mired in the New Jersey state legislature. Dr. Elliott says, “A law is long overdue that requires all medical providers in this state to unambiguously inform women who have dense breasts that they actually have this condition, and that requires insurers to cover advanced technology breast evaluations for women with dense breasts; it is a proven fact that this will save lives through early detection of breast cancers.”

For more information on dense breast legislation in New Jersey, visit: Montclair Breast Center.

About early detection of breast cancer: Yearly mammogram screenings and monthly self-examinations are critical for early detection of breast cancers. If you are not informed about the density of your breast tissue, ask your doctor for specifics and about additional testing such as those mentioned above. For the best possible breast care consult with a Breast Care Specialist and inquire about specific rates for early detection of breast cancers. For more information visit

About Montclair Breast Center: Montclair Breast Center is a premier multidisciplinary breast center located at 37 N. Fullerton Avenue in Montclair, NJ, specializing in proactive breast healthcare, risk-reduction techniques and the early detection and treatment of breast cancer. Our nationally recognized, dedicated team of breast imagers and breast surgeons use the most sophisticated technologies housed in our own facility and are committed to providing the best possible rate of early detection. Visit for specifics. In 1998, Montclair Breast Center became an out-of-network breast center to provide care solely dictated by the needs of our patients, uncompromised by the restrictions and limitations imposed by managed healthcare corporations.

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Nicole Radigan
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