California Senator (D-11) declared August 8, 2012 “Are You Dense? Day," an act designed to encourage women to get mammograms.
A mammogram is a test designed to screen women for breast cancer. During a mammogram, two surfaces squeeze a woman’s breast to flatten it. Then the breast is x-rayed. Radiologists and doctors use the black-and-white print out of the x-ray to determine how dense the breast tissue is, and to determine whether the woman is at risk for breast cancer.
High breast density has been linked to breast cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute.
“It is widely held to be one of the biggest risk factors, though the question of why it carries such a high risk is still not answered," according to Dr. Stephen Taplin, researcher in the NCI’s Cancer Control and Population Sciences.
About 40,000 women in the United States died after losing a battle with breast cancer in 2012. About 227,000 cases were reported.
Simitian's "Are You Dense? Day" is designed to raise awareness about the risks associated with dense breast tissue and to encourage women to talk with their doctors about breast density. Simitian has also authored legislation that would require doctors to tell women how dense their breasts are.