Katie Couric has dense breasts which meant a second screening was necessary to detect any abnormalities in her breasts.
The Former TODAY host shared her breast cancer diagnosis in an essay on her website on Sept. 28.
Couric said she was diagnosed with stage 1A breast cancer which means the cancer had not spread.
The 65-year-old mom-of-2 underwent a lumpectomy (to remove the lump) in July and she began chemotherapy and radiation treatments to kill any remaining cancer cells.
“Because my breasts are dense, I routinely get an additional screening using a breast ultrasound,” she wrote.
“The denser your breasts, the higher your risk of cancer. In 2019, the FDA proposed federal legislation that would make the language and guidance more specific, but the agency has been dragging its feet. Let’s get a move on, folks,” she added.
About half of American women over age 40 have dense breasts which show up as white on X-rays. Tumors and calcifications also show up as white on X-rays.
Fatty tissue shows up as grey on X-rays so tumors are easily detected.
Women with dense breasts have more fibrous glandular tissue than fatty tissue. The high density can conceal even golf ball-sized tumors on 2D mammograms.
Annual 3D mammograms are recommended for women over 40 with dense breasts. 3D mammograms are more accurate in detecting cancer than 2D mammograms.
38 states have breast density reporting laws requiring doctors to provide women with a letter explaining their breast density. But the law is not a nationwide standard.
“Having a national standard would help ensure every woman gets the most accurate information she needs after a mammogram,” said Lisa Lacasse, president of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.
“The FDA is committed to improving mammography services for patients and working diligently to finalize the rule to amend the existing mammography regulations,” Shauna Nelson, a spokesperson for the FDA, told TODAY in a statement on Sept. 28.
Breast cancer rates and other types of cancers have soared in the United States since 2020. Doctors aren’t sure why.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place in October. People with breasts should do a breast self-exam at least once a month to detect cancer early.
Watch the video below.