News: Breast Density Notification Law
On April 1, 2013, California became the fifth state with a Breast Density Notification Law (Senate Bill 1538). Connecticut, New York, Texas, and Virginia have already passed similar legislation. A dozen other states, including Florida, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, and Utah are also considering similar legislation. In addition, there is also a federal bill pending in the US House of Representatives. The notification law is a result of lobbying efforts by breast cancer survivors who had dense breast tissue and were unaware of the risk associated with breast density.
So why so much attention on breast density? Increased breast density can significantly reduce the sensitivity of mammography. In addition, women with dense breast tissue are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, there is very little awareness about breast density. Since mammography is the only way to identify if breast tissue is dense, the breast density inform law requires that women with dense breast tissue be notified of their breast density after undergoing screening mammography.
If you have elevated breast density, after your mammogram, you will receive a letter stating the following:
"Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This information about the results of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness and to inform your conversations with your doctor. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of your results was sent to your physician."