10/19/2014 04:01 pm ET Updated Dec 19, 2014

Don't Be Dense: Put Your Breasts on Your To-Do List

Chad Baker via Getty Images

The new Working Mother Research Institute survey, "Diagnosis Anxiety: The Working Mother Breast Screening Report," touches on a topic that affects all women, whether or not they're working and whether or not they're moms. Many of us have personally experienced a diagnosis of breast cancer, and we've almost all supported a friend or family member through the stressful time of awaiting test results, or worse, treatment after a cancer diagnosis.

This survey sheds new light on the level of awareness women have about breast cancer today and what we are doing to help reduce the disease with early detection. The survey of 2,502 women, conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute (WMRI) and sponsored by GE Healthcare, revealed that while 80 percent of the women have had a mammogram, and 70 percent of those women get an annual breast screening, only one out of five of the women surveyed who have dense breasts knew that they may be at a higher risk of breast cancer.

This is an alarming statistic, as women with extremely dense breasts have twice as much risk of developing cancer in the next 10 years than women with average breast density. Furthermore, mammography is less effective in detecting cancers in dense breasts than typical fatty breasts.

Many women do not know that they have dense breasts. And if they do, they do not know that they are at a greater risk of developing cancer.

I urge you to get informed about your own body and the technology available to you. So many of us make our children, our partners, and our jobs our priority. But today is the day to do something for yourself and get informed about your own health.

Make a note at the top of your "to do" list or add it to your online calendar. It is critical that you make an appointment with your doctor to learn your own breast density, discuss the findings and be your own advocate.

Read Diagnosis Anxiety: The Working Mother Breast Screening Report at for more on what you can -- and should--learn about breast density and your risk.