Kathy Kaufield has notched another victory.
The former Stratford, P.E.I., resident started a social media campaign, #TellMe, to press political leaders to provide women with information about their breast density after receiving mammograms.
After the leaders of New Brunswick’s Liberal and Progressive Conservative Parties both adopted the idea in the midst of that province’s election campaign, Health P.E.I. announced it will also move towards providing the information as a standard practice.
On Saturday, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil said in a tweet that his government would also look into the idea.
"Way to go P.E.I.," Kaufield said, reached by phone at her home in New Brunswick on Tuesday.
Kaufield started the campaign after a mammogram screening missed a cancer growth on her breast several years ago. Five months later, she discovered a tumour.
Tumours on dense breasts can be missed because both appear white on mammograms.
The organization Dense Breasts Canada estimates 43 per cent of women aged 40-74 have dense breasts.
After completing treatment two years ago, Kaufield began writing to the premier and the health minister in New Brunswick.
But, after running into a friend during a routine mammogram check-up appointment, she decided that more needed to be done to inform women about breast density information.
"She had a lump that was bigger than mine, and mine was the size of a golf ball. And the only reason she was checking her breast is because I harangue my friends about it," Kaufield said.
"It just hit me when I saw my friend there. I thought 'I've got to do something about this.' "
Kaufield, who has worked at the Telegraph-Journal, The Guardian and the Eastern Graphic, set up a website and established a simple but effective do-it-yourself online campaign.
She began tweeting political candidates three weeks ago and encouraged women to email and tweet their pictures to Liberal Leader Brian Gallant and Tory Leader Blaine Higgs.
She produced a simple one-minute video featuring the photos of many of these women and began circulating it on Facebook.
To date it has been viewed 18,000 times.
"It created a bit of buzz," Kaufield said.
“The politicians are on Twitter. So, if you want to reach them, that's kind of the place to be. If you want to reach women my age that really care about this issue, it's on Facebook."
Things moved quickly. By the end of last week, on Friday, both Gallant and Higgs announced their platforms would include a policy of providing breast density information along with mammogram screenings.
On Saturday morning, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil had tweeted his support.
By 10:23 A.M. on Monday, P.E.I. PC Leader James Aylward released a statement on Twitter calling for the practice to be adopted on P.E.I.
Fewer than two hours later, Health P.E.I. issued a tweet stating it would be adopting the practice.
In a statement to the Guardian, Health P.E.I. said the province had begun to “look into the topic of providing breast density information” over the past several months.
Kaufield hopes that other provinces take note as well.
"Maybe the premiers can talk amongst themselves and get this all looked after pretty quick," she said.