How a screening breast ultrasound exam may have saved the life of Joan Lunden, a former co-host of Good Morning America.

The topic of breast density has been a hot topic in America. 18 states, including California, have enacted laws mandating women be informed if a screening mammogram reveals dense breast tissue. If you would like to learn more about breast density, please visit our website, or contact one of our centers.

Joan Lunden’s Story

Joan Lunden returned to Good Morning America on June 24, 2014 to share she had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Not only did she hear the words every women dreads to hear – “you have breast cancer” – she was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. A rare and very aggressive form of breast cancer.

Joan, whose father was a cancer surgeon, was compulsive about getting her yearly mammogram. Although this year’s mammogram was negative, it indicated that her breast tissue was dense. To be on the safe side, her doctor recommended a screening breast ultrasound.

“Nothing showed in my mammogram and you come out of there like, ‘Yes, one more year. I’m okay.’ And then you go all happy-go-lucky into the ultrasound and she kept going back to one spot.” – Joan Lunden

Screening Breast Ultrasound | Orange County, CaliforniaHer screening breast ultrasound revealed an area of concern that could not be felt or seen on her mammogram. Her doctors recommended a biopsy, which revealed she had breast cancer.

Despite its small size, the cancer was very aggressive. Chemotherapy was recommended as the first step. Invasive, triple negative breast cancer often spreads to other parts of the body if it’s not caught early. Joan completed her second round of chemotherapy treatment on June 26, 2014. She tweeted on July 11 that she was in week 4 of her chemotherapy treatment.

In short, evidence suggests the screening breast ultrasound exam likely saved her life.

Screening Breast Ultrasound and Breast Density

Joan is now on a mission to help women gain awareness of the limitation of mammography in women with dense breasts. We recognize how brave Joan has been to publicly share her story while continuing to undergo breast cancer treatment.

“All right, you know you’ve got this and you’ve lived your life in front of an audience. Use it. Learn everything you can. Impart that information. Go out and try to inspire and maybe save lives.” – Joan Lunden

For more information about breast density please see our website,, that helps explain what every women should know about breast density. Our website addresses all aspects of breast screening, including 3-D mammography, screening breast ultrasound and screening breast MRI.

Additionally, you can learn more about your personal risk of developing breast cancer by visiting our breast cancer risk assessment program page. We believe empowering women with information about their personal breast cancer risk factors not only saves lives – it can lead to greater peace of mind.

Please contact us with any questions you have about breast density or your breast cancer risk factors by visiting our appointment page or calling (714) 619-3328.

Screening Breast Ultrasound | dr john west | Orange County, California