Free screening of documentary ‘Happy Gram’

011416_HappygramFor all women and the people who love them, there will be a free showing of the feature-length documentary, “Happy Gram,” on Saturday, January 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Shelter Island School auditorium. The documentary features Islander Towny Montant, who recounts his late wife Teresa’s battle with breast cancer after she was diagnosed with an 8-centimeter tumor three months after a “normal” mammogram.

“Happy Gram” is a term used by patient advocates to describe the form letter women receive stating that their mammograms are “normal.” Unfortunately, for women who have dense tissue in their breasts, mammograms can miss invasive cancers because dense tissue appears white on a mammogram — the same shade as cancer.

The movie was inspired by the friendship between writer/director Julie Marron of Providence, Rhode Island and her close friend, Hallie Leighton, who died after mammograms missed her breast cancer.

“‘Happy Gram’ explores the issue of breast density and the efforts of women to ensure that the medical community provides important medical information to women about density’s increased risk and its impact on mammogram effectiveness,” Ms. Marron said.

“The film features several women who were not informed of their breast density, of the increased cancer risk that dense tissue poses, or of the fact that mammograms can, and do, miss cancer when you have dense breasts,”  Ms. Marron said, who will attend the screening here.

Featured in numerous film festivals across the country, the documentary has won several awards, including first prize at the Rhode Island International Film Festival.

“What stands out in all these stories is that everyone’s cancer was missed by a mammogram, and you just don’t hear about that when breast cancer awareness month rolls around,” Ms. Marron said. “We hope to highlight the importance of knowing your breast density, so that no woman ever has to go through what these women did.”

Visit happygramthemovie.com for more information.