Breast Density in the Check-out Line?

by Chiqeeta Jameson

My husband and I are in the check-out line at the grocery store. Our items are on the runway belt and are next in line to be processed. (Note; there is a female checker and two women behind us that are casually reading the front cover of, “The National Enquirer” and “People.”) Knowing me very well after sixteen years, he moves in front of me, leans into me and quietly says, “Ok honey, hit it.” I then position myself so I can face all three women and I ask, “Ladies? Are you dense?” The two behind us, stare at me and don’t know whether to be offended or have sympathy for this strange demented woman who just addressed them with this outrageous question. (Well, I got their attention!)

I tell them, “I’m talking about your breasts? Do you know your tissue type?” One tells me, “I know I’m dense. Look how big I am.” The other woman says, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

I then give the two of them a little plastic card that has two mammogram images on one side that shows a fatty breast and a dense breast.

fatty breast  Mammogram of fatty breast tissue (60% of women have this type)

dense breast  Mammogram of dense-breast tissue (DBT) (40% of women have this type)

I then explain that fatty tissue looks like Jell-O on the mammogram. Radiation can easily see through this type of tissue. Cancer, on a mammogram is always white, like a pearl. If you were to drop a pearl in Jell-O you would be able to see it no matter how far down it drops. So for women who have fatty-breast tissue, mammography is enough of an examination for them

sonocine detecting bc in DBT   Ultrasound That “dark” spot is a 1.3cm cancer missed on the mammogram

Dense tissue looks like oatmeal on the mammogram. Radiation cannot see well through this type of tissue. If you were to drop a pearl in oatmeal you will have a difficult time seeing it. So, for women with dense-breast tissue mammography is not enough of an examination to detect what may be hidden from view.

Miss “I know I’m Dense,” said, “So that’s what I look like?” I then told the ladies that in order to know whether you are fatty or dense, you need to have a mammogram. You can’t tell if you are dense by size or touch. In fact the terms, fatty and dense, come from mammography. Radiation passes through your breast tissue and the images that it creates will determine if you are fatty or dense.

Miss “I Have No Idea” said, “Why do I care what type of tissue I have.” (At first I thought, “Lady, where have you been?” …until I remembered that over 80% of women in this country have no idea.)

“You need to care because clinical studies have documented that over 50% of breast cancer in women with dense-breast tissue is missed by mammography. That’s half. And over 40% of all women in the U.S. have DBT (that’s short for dense-breast tissue) that’s almost half. And over 70% of all breast cancers appear in women who have dense-breast tissue. That’s more than half! By the time a cancer is found in a woman with DBT it could already have spread to other parts of her body. She could them be facing chemo, radiation and the complete upheaval of her life.”

The ladies are now staring at me like a deer in the headlights.

The checker, who has been quietly listening, while scanning and moving our items down the runway belt chimes in, “If you have DBT you can’t stop with a mammogram, you need to have an ultrasound examination as well. Ultrasound finds what mammograms miss.”

“You’re right! Good for you!” I said.

I then explained that ultrasound uses sound waves and can easily see through dense-breast    tissue. It’s safe for unborn babies and is therefore safe for your breasts. Remember, dense tissue is white. On a mammogram cancers appear white but on an ultrasound cancers appear dark against that white tissue making them a lot easier to see when they are small and easier to treat.

I tell them to ask their doctor if they have dense-breast tissue and if so, ask to have a SonoCiné AWBUS, which is an automated whole (meaning all breast tissue) breast ultrasound to see what their mammogram may have missed.

By this time, the husband is loading our groceries in the trunk of our car and I am helping the bagger load the last of the women’s groceries into bags.

I then give them each a second card and tell them to save one of the cards until they find out what type of breast tissue they have and then give it to another friend with the same instructions. As far as the other card, I tell them, “Do what I did today. Start a conversation and give it to someone you don’t know. You could save a life by passing on this valuable information. Also go to and, You will learn about SonoCiné AWBUS and more information about what to do for your own breast health care.

They both thank me and we all hug while saying our goodbyes. As for the checker, she winks at me. I educated her a long time ago.

How about you? Do you have DBT? Find out, ask your doctor. As a dense-breasted cancer survivor whose life was saved by Dr. Kevin M. Kelly, a Breast Imaging Radiologist, who specializes in finding breast cancers in women with DBT and implants using SonoCiné AWBUS, I urge you to take control of your own breast health.

Chiqeeta  Chiqeeta Jameson is a dense-breasted cancer survivor. She is also the Director of Women’s Health Advocacy for SonoCiné AWBUS, a medical technology company that manufactures an automated whole breast ultrasound system that is designed to detect breast cancers as small as 5mm in size.   She is part of the tyriad team named the “Dangerous Boobs Tour” (DB Tour) that is working to raise awareness of the issue of DBT across the country.    SonoCiné’s motto is: Finding small breast cancers when others don’t.



My Boring Movie

By Erin Kelley-McNeely, Guest Blogger

Last April I jetted away to Los Angeles where I starred in a movie! Los Angeles – you know, Hollyweird…a MOVIE….and ME!

Why me? Well, as “they” say, it’s all in “who” you know, and I happen to know the best. Luckily I didn’t have to audition because I knew I wasn’t really the type they wanted. And I really wanted to do it.

Marie was my point-person for the day and the one who prepared me for my scenes. Costuming was simple because she had already procured the special “camisole” that I needed to wear. The camisole fit me like a sports bra and, as intended, kept my big ole milk-makers in place. Yeah, at almost 57, they needed a little coaxing to get and stay in position.

Another item Marie had for me were clear gel nipple pads. She said that these pads were highly patented and used only for this particular movie. They help make sure that the images filmed would be as clear as possible. They also ensure my comfort during filming. Not sexy but very helpful.

The room for filming was pleasant and I was remarkably calm considering this was so new to me. Marie had me lay on my back to get ready for filming. It was all so interesting that my eyes darted all over the room, trying to drink it all in.

Then it was time to film. Marie lowered the lights and I smiled…this is IT!

My movie was being shot and produced through SonoCiné AWBUS and Marie was the Director. Oh, did I mention that my movie was a SonoCiné Automated Whole Breast Ultrasound? “Whole,” meaning all breast tissue. It was a “sound (sono) movie (ciné)” and I was the star. Well, okay, my girls were the stars.

That part about not really being the normal “type” for this movie is true. I have what they call “fatty” breast tissue. I am very glad for that, by the way. Imagine, being glad about having anything called “fatty!” Mammography is enough of an examination to see through fatty tissue.

However, SonoCiné AWBUS was designed as a complementary examination to mammography for women with dense-breast tissue (DBT) and for women with implants. This exam can find cancers that are missed by the mammogram and over 50% of cancers ARE missed by mammography in women with DBT and implants. . Mammography simply can’t see through DBT.

I also wanted to experience something NO mammogram has ever provided me…the WHOLE BREAST exam. SonoCiné AWBUS scans everything…not just what sits in your bra. The exam begins in your underarm where your lymph nodes are located. With the guidance of the technologist, the ultrasound wand scans in linear rows from the top of the breast to the bottom of the breast and moving from the right side to the left side and over everything in between. All of my breast tissue was filmed for my movie.

I have had those yearly mammograms for over 15 years now…and I have big breasts. I don’t have to tell you how uncomfortable that is. But, the SonoCiné AWBUS is completely painless.   There was no radiation, no compression and no injections; just ultrasound which is very safe. And, my AWBUS movie showed my doctor every single part of my breast tissue which let him know if I had anything in the “never before imaged areas” to worry about. And I didn’t!

Yes, I had a completely “boring movie” when my SonoCiné AWBUS was read. Oh…and it was read to me by the inventor of the SonoCiné AWBUS technology, Dr. Kevin M. Kelly Pasadena, CA.   I was thrilled that my entire AWBUS could be called a “boring movie.” Thanks, Dr. Kelly!

I wish every woman a “boring movie.” I wish that every woman will find out what type of breast tissue she has. If it is dense she needs a better standard of breast care than just mammography. I found out that unlike other breast screening ultrasound systems SonoCiné AWBUS offers automated “Whole” breast coverage for all dense breasted women, women with implants and women who have had any type of breast intervention such as a biopsy, lumpectomy or mastectomy.

Get the whole picture. I did and it wasn’t boring to me!



About Dr. Kevin M. Kelly, by Dr. Kelly

I am a radiologist in private practice in Southern California, and have specialized in finding and diagnosing breast cancers for about 30 years. It has become clear during that time that for all the money that has been spent on breast cancer in the past 20 years it remains the top killer of women in the United States between the ages 35 and 54. About 8,000 women die every year between these ages. Overall, the number of deaths at all ages is about 40,000 in the U.S. and about one million worldwide.

In this journal, I will share my thoughts about this disease, and what we can do about it.  I will also have guest bloggers post with subjects to do with awareness

I believe that knowledge is power.  It is important that those who are potentially affected by this disease know enough to make rational decisions about finding it early, which is the best way to try to avoid the great consequences of breast cancer.

This journal is meant as a dialog with women to answer their general questions about breast health.  I have started this site with answers to a few of the most common questions I get in my practice. I will add to these periodically and will answer general questions, from those who write in.

I cannot give answers to an individual’s specific medical problem, however, because I cannot do a physical examination and I am most likely not licensed to practice medicine in your state.

Now, let’s all get out there and find cancers when they are small and save some lives!



Print Friendly