Women's Health Month

A Personal Battle Intersects with a Professional Passion

Women's Health is Bayer's DNA

Jen was a junior in college when her mom called to say she’d been diagnosed with breast cancer. Little did Jen know at that time how her story would come full circle. Now, she not only works for Bayer Radiology, which provides detection tools to help facilitate breast cancer diagnosis, she has had the opportunity to participate as a patient in a research study using one of the Bayer injectors she worked on launching. 

Jen and her Mom discuss their personal journey
Jen and her Mom discuss their personal journey

Jen’s grandmother passed away from breast cancer when Jen was a junior in high school. This family history put Jen and her mom, Kimberly, into a higher risk category for breast cancer. Kimberly started going faithfully for annual mammograms starting when she was 35. Ten years later, following her annual mammogram, she was told to come back in 6 months because they saw something but weren’t overly concerned.  Three months later,  Kimberly felt a lump in her breast. After going back to the doctor and getting additional testing, it was determined that she had an invasive cancerous lump that was 2.5 centimeters.

Following surgery and multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation to battle her aggressive breast cancer, Jen’s mom (a 21-year survivor) is cancer-free and leads an active life. 

Every May, their whole family participates in the annual Susan G. Komen MORE THAN PINK WALK®. It is a now a family tradition to get together to celebrate Kimberly while honoring fellow survivors and remembering those who have lost their lives to this horrible disease. This event helps raise funds for the Susan G. Komen organization and its tremendous work supporting breast cancer patients and research needed to prevent and cure breast cancer.


A Happy Convergence

With Jen losing her grandmother to breast cancer, her mom’s phone call during her junior year of college was a frightening and pivotal moment. It sparked a calling for Jen to pursue a career in healthcare. Today, Jen is the Director of US Market and Customer Insights for Bayer’s Radiology division, where she has worked for the past 18 years.

One of the most exciting opportunities in Jen’s career at Bayer has been to work with a local large teaching institution that used a Bayer device to support research for an emerging supplemental imaging option, Contrast Enhanced Mammography (CEM). This option can help more women.


“With my family history, I’m at higher risk for breast cancer, and when I had my annual mammogram, I was asked to participate in the same research study with our Bayer injectors,” Jen says. “Thankfully, the results were clear and showed no signs of cancer.”

It meant so much to me on so many levels - that I was personally able to participate in a research study, which used a Bayer injector that I had the opportunity to work on. This experience reinforced my passion for what we do every day at Bayer, because everyone deserves clear answers about their health.

Supporting Patients with Dense Breasts

Nearly half of all women aged 40 or older who get mammograms are found to have dense breast tissue. Only a radiologist looking at a mammogram can determine if a woman has dense breast tissue, which is characterized by relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue, and relatively low amounts of fatty breast tissue.

Jen considers herself lucky to have the right knowledge from her job and to live in an area where patients have access to supplemental imaging options.

“Knowing my family history, when I first started to get my annual mammograms, I was fortunate to be able to meet with a high-risk counselor,” Jen says. “I learned I had dense breasts and knew from my work at Bayer and my family history, that I needed supplemental imaging.”


“Women with extremely dense breasts are twice as likely to develop breast cancer,” says Wagdy Youssef MD, MBA, Head of Americas Radiology Medical Affairs. “Unfortunately, mammograms miss 40% of cancer in people with dense breasts, which is a significant issue considering that when breast cancer is caught early, it usually leads to better outcomes.”  

Dr. Youssef advises that women who have dense breasts talk with their doctors about their need for supplemental screening, such as pairing their mammogram with an ultrasound, 3-D or contrast-enhanced mammogram, or breast MRI.


Currently only 38 states have legislation requiring communication about breast density with patients. Updated FDA regulations, which become effective September 2024, will require mammography facilities in all 50 states as part of their mammography report to inform patients if their breasts are dense and how it can affect cancer risk and the need for supplemental imaging tests.

Bayer has supported the updated regulation, as well as supported the “Find It Early Act,” which would extend insurance coverage of needed supplemental imaging to all women.

“Even with my family history, it wasn’t an easy path to obtain authorization for supplemental imaging,” Jen says. “While my mom’s story has a happy outcome, I still hear too many stories of women who don’t know about breast density, who aren’t sure what their insurance covers and who have a missed diagnosis.  It’s time for better.”

5 min read