DALLAS—Henda Salmeron's life changed two years ago when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. What you won't see in the image of her mammogram is a four centimeter tumor hidden in dense breast tissue.
"Every one of my mammograms indicated that I had dense breast tissue," Henda said. "But I was never informed of that piece of information. I never knew that I had dense breast tissue."
It was one those 'there ought to be a law' moments.
She lobbied state lawmakers to approve a bill with her name on it--dubbed Henda's Law--which requires certified FDA facilities to provide patients with information about dense breast tissue following mammogram results.
It reads in part: "You might benefit from supplemental screening tests that may be suggested by your ordering physician." Dr. Joe Spiegel is a radiologist at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he believes patient knowledge is power.
"This has to do with education and education and knowledge never goes out of style, never gets outdated," Dr. Spiegel said. "Letting patients know their risks and benefits for any future tests is what we're here for."
Dr. Spiegel said additional screenings come with additional risks--especially MRI'S which he said can cause non-reversible kidney damage if the patient has an adverse reaction to contrast materials.
Henda drove to Austin almost every week to lobby both the House and Senate and recalled her pitch to save lives.
"My opening line to my testimony was my life changed two years ago in a way that I could never imagine," Henda said.
In that time she beat breast cancer, lost 30 pounds, completed the grueling Himalayan 100 and now has a law with her name on it.
She said it's a good feeling.
"It's one of those moments you feel like you've held your breath and suddenly you can let it out."
Mammography facilities must comply by the 1st of next year.
Cancer changed Henda's life--now Henda's Law will save lives.
"If I can save one life then that was worth it," Henda said. "It's not about me; it is about the women we can save."