Nick Gelting is training. He runs to bring light to a very personal healthcare issue that affects everyone. He runs for his mom and her cause.
"When I am running it is something that kinda helps motivate me, is her and thinking about her. It helps keep her close to my heart," Nick said.
Nick's mom died of metastatic breast cancer in 2014, gone just after his junior year in high school. She'd had regular mammograms, but she also had dense breast tissue, meaning less fat, more connective tissue which hid cancer from a standard mammogram.
"It's important to know how dense you are," says Dr. Wendy Cornett, a surgeon at the Greenville Healthcare Systems, Breast Health Program in South Carolina.
Until recently, many women had no idea that knowing the density of their breast tissue could be beneficial in making their healthcare decisions. It has not been something considered important for women to know.
Nick’s mother, Hope, decided that had to change.
"She helped pass a law that made it so that when you had dense breast tissue, and you go to your mammogram that your doctor has to let you know that you have dense breast tissue because that could cover up any cancers and they have to let you know that you may need further testing," Nick said.
Nick's mom did something else. She supported "Are You Dense?" -- a group that educates women about dense breasts.
Nick supports the group now, training six days a week for a run in Charleston’s half marathon that will benefit "Are You Dense?"
"I think she'd be really proud. I think she's up there smiling down on me. I think she'd be really appreciative of it," Nick said, doing his part to help women uncover the truth.
Thirty-one states have enacted dense breast tissue notification laws.
Here in Washington, Senate Bill 5048 is waiting for a vote in the Senate but faces opposition from the American College of Obstetrician and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Last year during the committee meeting Dr. Judy Kimelman the legislative chair for ACOG said;
"In conclusion, ACOG has grave concerns about SB 5084. We do not support mandating medical care, and the science does not support additional testing at this time. If the benefit of additional screening for a low-risk population were both proven scientifically beneficial and were cost-effective, ACOG would support the additional testing. As it stands now, it is neither."
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