Survivor Shares Breast Cancer Journey, Advocates for Dense Breast Legislation

Posted By on November 15th, 2013 at 8:38 am | 1741 comments.

T Gillen HeadshotTerry Gillen, Philadelphia

One day in April 2010, I happened to raise my arm and I felt a bit of a lump on my breast. I had had a mammogram about six months earlier but nothing showed on the mammogram. There could be a million reasons why the mammogram didn’t detect it, but my understanding is that I have dense breast tissue. I started reading online stories written by women who had similar experiences. Some of them had really advanced stage breast cancer at the time they were diagnosed and it was just devastating. Many of those women believe that if they had been informed that their breasts were dense, they might have had additional testing and may have been diagnosed at an earlier stage. I was so moved by their stories that I felt compelled to reach out to Pat Halpin-Murphy and the PBCC. I knew she was a strong advocate for breast cancer and that she and the organization knew how to get things done.

The good news for me was that the cancer was caught early. I had a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation and I have a good prognosis.

I work as Director of Foreign Affairs in Philadelphia Mayor Nutter’s office. For relaxation I like to play tennis, swim, and I love to read. I recently bought a piano and I have started taking piano lessons.

“The Dense Breast Notification Act will give women important information that will help them understand this risk factor for cancer.”

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