June 27, 2014 — Governor Deval Patrick has signed Massachusetts’ breast density inform bill into law (Chapter 150) this week, making Massachusetts the 18th state to enact a such legislation. 
 
This raises to 56 percent the number of American women living in states with mandatory breast density notification. States with legislation still active include Delaware, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and South Carolina.
 
Approximately 40 percent of women have breast tissue categorized as dense, meaning relatively little fat and more connective and glandular tissue. Dense tissue can compromise the effectiveness of a mammogram and has also been cited as an independent risk factor for the development of breast cancer. As the American Cancer Society notes in Breast Cancer Facts and Figures, 2013-2014, “The risk of breast cancer increases with increasing breast density; women with very high density have a four to six fold increased risk of breast cancer compared to women with the least dense breasts.”
 
On the federal regulatory level, a Breast Density Reporting amendment to the Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA) is scheduled as a “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” in 2014.  On the federal legislative front, Reps. DeLauro (CT) and Israel (NY) have introduced the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act of 2013 (HR 3404).
 
Breast Density is also a topic of increasing awareness outside of the United States.  Canada has introduced bill C-314, An Act Respecting the awareness of screening among women with dense breast tissue and the U.K. has seen the emergence of a patient advocacy campaign.
 
States with breast density inform laws in order of enactment include Connecticut, Texas, Virginia, New York, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Tennessee, Alabama,  Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Arizona, Minnesota and Rhode Island.
 
 

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