All I could think about was the women such as myself who were thinking we were OK and we are really not. I took that energy — I was very angry — and turned it into making change for other women.Margie Singleton
RINCON — Rincon native Margie Singleton turned negative personal circumstances into a positive development for women all over Georgia.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer following a trio of 3D mammograms that didn’t detect the disease, Singleton set out to make sure that other women don’t suffer the same fate. Starting in 2017, she fought for legislation that would require mammography providers to notify women if they have dense breast tissue that makes mammograms unreliable.
Singleton’s dream became a reality May 2 when Gov. Brian Kemp signed House Bill 62, known as “Margie’s Law.”
“It was a very good day to see that because it was a lot of work,” Singleton said. “A lot of work went in behind the scenes to make that happen. It was nice to see because of the women it is going to help.”
Singleton’s cancer was discovered by ultrasound the same day two mammograms missed it because of her dense breast tissue.
“I had no idea about dense breast tissue,” she said. “It increases your risk of breast cancer. After learning about it, I could not turn that around and not help people.
“All I could think about was the women such as myself who were thinking we were OK and we are really not. I took that energy — I was very angry — and turned it into making change for other women.
“It’s too late for me but we could prevent it from happening to other women.”
Singleton and many of her friends, dubbed “Margie’s Army,” started raising awareness of the issue and enlisted the help of Rep. Bill Hitchens, who championed “Margie’s Law” in the General Assembly.
“Representative Hitchens was amazing,” Singleton said. “I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with him.”
According to the “Margie’s Law,” set to go into effect July 1, patients found to have dense breast tissue will receive a text that says:
Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect cancer through a mammogram. Also, dense breast tissue may increase your risk for breast cancer. This information about the result of your mammogram is given to you to increase your awareness. Use this information to talk with your health care provider about whether other supplemental tests in addition to your mammogram may be appropriate for you, based on your individual risk. A report of your results was sent to your ordering physician. If you are self-referred, a report of your results was sent to you in addition to this summary.
“Instead of focusing on me and my cancer, and feeling sorry for myself, this enabled me to actually make a difference with other people,” Singleton said. “I just got focused and had the right people around me. They jumped on board as well and we just made it happen.”
Singleton, who resides in Savannah, said Georgia is 38th state to pass a law regarding dense breast tissue.
“There is definitely a movement with the other states (without similar legislation) to get them on board,” Singleton said. “There is definitely a charge to make this standard care across the nation.”
Singleton, who sells medical devices, has returned to work and is feeling well.
“I’m feeling great,” she said. “I’ve finished my treatment and I’m back to work. I’m shifting my gears toward making a difference with patients of the like.”