Cancer Survivor Taking On ND Law

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Cancer is something you might not expect to hear lawmakers talk about during the legislative session. But, Cynthia Eggl, a Fargo woman is pushing for change in the way breast cancer is detected.

Right now, medical facilities in North Dakota don't have to tell women getting mammograms what type of breast tissue they have. Cynthia says having that information would have caught her cancer years ago, "The most obvious way that we can affect breast cancers grip is to find it at it's earliest stage but that is not possible unless your medical doctor discloses to you that your breast tissue is dense.” She says, “And the associated risks of dense breast tissue."

Cynthia is the author of a book called "My Journey Through Breast Cancer." And now, the survivor is taking on a new challenge. She's preparing her testimony to try and change North Dakota law.

"Mine was probably close to this if not a little more dense, cause they could not find the two tumors that were in the lower breast at the bottom," says Cynthia, explaining her breast cancer. She was diagnosed back in 2011 with stage 2 breast cancer.

But, since she, like 40% of other women have dense breasts her mammograms always came back normal. "That is a huge swath of people that may have potential risk of breast cancer that may be going undetected," says Cynthia.

During a regular mammogram it's hard for doctors to detect cancer in those with dense breasts. And if you don't know you have them you could be missing something life threatening. Cynthia wants to change that saying, "That is not acceptable, I cannot imagine someone having to do what I've done, what I've lived through."

She wants to be sure it's required by law that every single person who gets a mammogram knows. So she's facing her fear of public speaking on Wednesday to give her testimony. "If this legislation that would go into effect, there is a very good chance they would find it at its earliest stage and could potentially save that person's life," says Cynthia.

If the bill passes it still has to be voted on in the house and the senate.

Minnesota, like many other states already has the law Cynthia is fighting for. Some hospitals in North Dakota do send out letters with breast tissue types even though they don't have to. Sanford health in Fargo is one of them.

And, a doctor from Sanford’s Rodger Maris Cancer Center says it wouldn't hurt to pass this bill to make sure all facilities do the same. "Because of the information we know about having dense breast means, and of course it's important to follow those women closely that centers that aren't doing it. I think should be doing it, and if this legislation promotes that it would be a very good thing," says Dr. Micheal Bouton, a Breast Cancer Surgeon.