GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) - Watch as chapter five unfolds in Real Women. Real Stories: Teresa. In this segment learn about how this West Michigan woman is paving the way for women with dense breast tissue across the country and changing legislation. Click on the video player to watch "The Show".
About House Bill 4260
If the mammography interpreter determines that the patient has heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue the doctors report needs to include this:
"THE PHYSICIAN INTERPRETING THIS MAMMOGRAPHY EXAMINATION HAS DETERMINED THAT THE PATIENT HAS DENSE BREAST TISSUE. MAMMOGRAPHY HAS KNOWN LIMITATIONS AND, IN A PATIENT WHO HAS DENSE BREAST TISSUE, SOME ABNORMALITIES MAY NOT APPEAR. THIS NOTICE IS INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS AND PROMOTE DISCUSSION BETWEEN THE PATIENT AND HIS OR HER PHYSICIAN REGARDING THE RESULTS OF THE MAMMOGRAPHY EXAMINATION. DEPENDING UPON THE PATIENT'S INDIVIDUAL RISK FACTORS, THE PHYSICIAN MAY RECOMMEND ADDITIONAL TESTS, INCLUDING AN ULTRASOUND OR MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING. THE PATIENT AND PHYSICIAN SHOULD DISCUSS ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS REGARDING THE RESULTS OF THE MAMMOGRAPHY EXAMINATION.".
What does this mean exactly? It is harder to spot cancer in women who have denser breast tissue because it camouflages the tumor more, making these women at high risk to miss cancer at it's early stages. Bill 4260 will make it mandatory for your doctor to include the density of your breast tissue in your mammogram report which will hopefully open up a dialogue about further testing or precautionary steps you should take.
About The Petition:
Support HB 4260! Help save Michigan women from advanced breast cancer diagnosis.
HB 4260 would require that a Mammogram Summary contain material medical information regarding a patient's breast density, their increased risk for cancer from dense breast tissue, and the difficulty detecting a tumor within dense tissue when using a mammogram. Most women do not know their Breast Density Score (Bi-RADS) or what the score means for their risk of cancer, because that information is not reported in the Mammography Summary they receive. (March 2013 Karmanos study finds lack of awareness of increased cancer risk for women with dense breasts)
Breast Density is neither uncommon nor abnormal. However, a woman's breast density can predetermine their risk for breast cancer. Dense breasts may hide a tumor on mammography, since they both appear white. When a woman receives her Mammography Summary, it should include material medical information that could save her life with early detection. With this information, women may discuss additional screening, such as an ultrasound or MRI, with their physicians.
HB 4260, with an amendment, would assure that the Mammogram Summary sent to women includes this language, as approved by the American College of Radiology, for women with mammographically dense breasts:
"The mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is very common and is not abnormal. But dense breast tissue can make it harder to find cancer on a mammogram. Also, dense breast tissue may increase your breast cancer risk. This information about the result of your mammogram report is given to you to raise your awareness. Use this report when you talk to your doctor about your own risks for breast cancer, which includes your family history. At that time, ask your doctor if more screening tests might be useful, based on your risk". (American College of Radiology Sample lay letter)
There are already 6 states with this law in place. You can learn more here.
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Radiothon Thursday, December 12th and Friday, December 13th