Standardizing the communication of breast density to women across the country
with dense breast tissue
equal access to an
Early Cancer Diagnosis
There is currently no protocol for the disclosure of breast density to patient, yet density predicts the accuracy of a mammogram at any age.
No one, particularly any doctor involved in a woman's health care, should have the option to keep pertinent health information about her, from her. This fatal flaw in the reporting requirement from radiologist to patient must be corrected.
Support the legislation introduced by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Steve Israel (NY). Please contact your Federal Representatives and ask for their support of HR 3102.
Mammography misses more than 40% of cancers in women with dense breast tissue
The figures above are illustrations of the four
BI-RADS grades of breast tissue density (from left to
right) least dense through extremely dense.
Over the past decade, peer reviewed scientific studies have demonstrated that mammography misses breast cancer at least 40% of the time in women with dense breasts
Additionally, the research has shown that by utilizing adjuvant breast screening tools, detection of early stage breast cancer can increase up to 100% for women with dense breast tissue. By failing to enact life saving screening protocols for women with dense breast tissue, cancers are detected at a later stage than necessary when least treatable and survivable. The impact on the health care system is also significant as a later stage diagnosis is 13 times more costly to treat than an early stage diagnosis.
Breast density is one of the strongest risk factors associated withbreast cancer
According to the National Institute of Health and 18 other studies spanning 8 countries, breast density is recognized as one of, if not the strongest risk factor associated with development of breast cancer. Breast density represents a stronger risk factor than age or having a first degree (mom/sister) relative with the disease. Studies have found breast density increases the likelihood of developing breast cancer between 3.6 and 18 fold.
There is currently no protocol mandating physician disclosure of breast density to patient
Public safety mandates that the government enact a policy that will require health care providers to start telling women the truth about the effectiveness of their mammograms.
The medical community has failed to enact a standard that simply requires doctors to tell women that mammography can miss more cancer than it detects in women who have dense breasts. As a result, women with dense breast tissue are being denied access to an Early Breast Cancer Diagnosis. A policy change by the government is necessary to ensure that patient safety becomes a high priority and that the communication of Breast Density to Women is standardized across the country.
When kept in the dark about this critical piece of their own health risk, women are denied the opportunity to partner in their breast cancer surveillance
Are You Dense Advocacy is advocating for equal access to early cancer detection for the 40% of American women with breast density. An amendment to the Mammography Quality Standards Act’s existing “lay letter” reporting requirement, to include information about a patient’s individual breast density, will give women critical health information about themselves. Without this information, women – kept in the dark about their own physiology and risk factors – can hardly be considered informed participants in their health surveillance.