January 19, 2015 — Michigan has become the 21st state to enact a density reporting law. The reporting efforts were led by patient turned advocate Teresa Hendricks, whose breast cancer was diagnosed within one month of a normal mammogram. This was the first time she was informed that her dense tissue masked her cancer on mammography and was told of the impact of dense breast tissue on missed and delayed cancers. Hendricks and her coalition of Michigan residents led the efforts to standardize density reporting to women in the Great Lakes State.
With Michigan, it raises to 65 percent the number of American women living in states with some level of mandatory breast density notification. The law becomes effective June 2015.
The law requires the following text to be provided to patients who have dense breast tissue: “Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer through a mammogram. Also, dense breast tissue may increase your risk for breast cancer. This information about the result of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness. Use this information to discuss with your healthcare provider whether other supplemental tests in addition to your mammogram may be appropriate for you, based on your individual risk. A report of your results was sent to your ordering physician. If you are self-referred, a report of your results was sent to you in addition to this summary.”
The first density reporting law was enacted in Connecticut in 2009. Another eight states are expected to introduce density reporting legislation in 2015. The federal density reporting bill in the Senate and House is due for reintroduction in the new Congress soon.
For more information: www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2013-2014/billenrolled/Senate/pdf/2014-SNB-0879.pdf