Breast tissue density has recently been a hot topic in the news. The issue came from women’s complaints that regular mammograms weren’t able to clearly see through dense breast tissue, making it that much more difficult to detect cancer early. Women were often not even informed if they had dense breast tissue and would assume they were okay if a mammogram showed no cancerous spots. The problem with that was that women were leaving their traditional mammogram appointments believing they were healthy, only to discover they had cancer, later on, that may have been detected earlier through different methods. Dense breast tissue requires a supplemental sonographic screening.  By having a mammogram, clinical breast exam, AND a supplemental sonographic screening, cancer can be detected much earlier in women with dense breast tissue.

The bill. A.B. 147, passed February 13, 2013, requires the notification of patients regarding breast density (BDR 40-172). Specifically, “an act relating to mammography; requiring a notice regarding supplementary mammographic screening tests to be included in a report provided to a patient if the patient is categorized as having dense breasts; authorizing an administrative fine for failure to provide such notice, and providing other matters properly relating thereto” (A.B. 147). The law also requires the facility that performs the mammogram to provide the patient with a summary of the report to be understood by the layperson. This law was created out of the need to provide care for women who were being overlooked by an outdated system for annual mammograms.

It is essential that women regularly get a mammogram and have their breasts checked to detect signs of cancer early. Studies have shown that early detection, in most cases, helps prevent cancer from turning fatal. Talk to your doctor to determine what screenings are best for you.

Remember to get checked this October!