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The future of... dense breast legislation

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | August 30, 2015
From the July 2015 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

Pushkin says that the federal standard would ideally handle the four components that every density notification should include: women should be clearly told if they have dense breasts, they should be told the limitations of mammography in finding tumors in dense breast, that dense breasts are an independent risk factor for breast cancer, and it should tell them to speak to their provider about benefits of supplemental screening. Pushkin thinks that patient awareness will improve, but she also thinks methods to screen for breast cancer will improve, too.

“In 10 years, we may see contrast-enhanced mammo or abbreviated MRI as the norm, especially for women with dense breasts. Mayo Clinic’s decision to perform molecular breast imaging every other year in women with dense breasts is interesting and those results will be available. What is needed are more clinical trials to establish the effectiveness and outcomes of these strategies,” she says.

Pushkin says that after the New York law went into effect and women began to get their letters, they started calling her with questions, not knowing what to do next. To address that, she co-developed an educational website with a radiological expert and a radiological tech. It describes each technology, how it works, benefits and drawbacks as well as addressing FAQs and density legislation details for both patients and referring physicians. Legislators are also using www. DenseBreast-info.org to better understand the issue as they contemplate notification legislation.

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