Feature | May 01, 2014 | Melinda Taschetta-Millane

Helping to Spread Awareness

According to the European CanCer Organisation (ECCO), there are more than 1.6 million new cases of breast cancer diagnosed globally each year. This number has been increasing at a rate of 3.1 percent per year. As Prof. Peter Boyle, director of the University of Strathclyde Institute of Global Public Health at the International Prevention Research Institute (iPRI) in Lyon, France, told conference-goers at the European Breast Cancer Conference (EBCC-9), “We need to make a reduction in the number of women developing and dying from breast cancer a global priority.”

Here in the states, we are beginning to see mass efforts by advocates to spread awareness not only of cancer, but also about dense breast tissue. In mid-April, Governor Jan Brewer signed Arizona’s breast density inform bill into law (SB 1225), becoming the 15th state to enact this law. Many states have pending legislation, including Colorado, Delaware, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri and Rhode Island.

On the federal regulatory level, a Breast Density Reporting amendment to the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) is scheduled to be issued as a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in 2014. On the federal legislative front, Reps. DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Israel (D-N.Y.) have introduced the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act of 2013 (HR 3404). The states that have already passed these laws include Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama, Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Arizona.

Every major American medical organization with expertise in breast cancer care, including the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Cancer Society, American College of Radiology, National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers and Society of Breast Imaging, recommends that women start getting annual mammograms at age 40. 

At the 24th annual Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference (NCoBC 2014), sponsored by the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC) in March, ITN Publisher Sean Reilly had the opportunity to discuss the current trends in this field with leading industry experts. His videotaped interviews can be found here, and include:

Highlights of the 2014 NCoBC Meeting: Gary Levine, M.D., president of the National Consortium of Breast Centers, discusses highlights of the NCoBC conference and NCBC’s mission for 2014.

Screening Controversy: Levine reacts to the recent Canadian study’s questioning the value of preventative mammography screening and the confusion it has caused.

Breast Density Discussion: Levine discusses breast density, alternative screening technologies and the impact of “Inform Law” on clinical workflow.

Personalized Breast Screening: Levine predicts a future of personalized breast screening and addresses related challenges that will need to be addressed for successful implementation.

Nancy Cappello Discusses Are You Dense Advocacy at NCoBC 2014: Nancy Cappello, founder/director of Are You Dense, Inc., discusses breast density, “Inform Law” and her mission to expand screening options for women. 

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