Mammography reports nationwide to include patient breast density

Mammography reports nationwide to include patient breast density

by John R. Fischer, Staff Reporter | February 21, 2019
Women's Health

Diagnosed with stage 3C breast cancer in 2004, Cappello learned that her dense breast tissue prevented the mammography machine from detecting the cancer, despite years of undergoing annual mammograms. She then poured her energy into advocating for breast density notification, helping to pass the first state law requiring it in 2009 in her home state of Connecticut. After, she continued to pass similar forms of legislation in other states until passing away in November from secondary myelodyspastic syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow cancer that was a complication of her prior breast cancer treatments.

“This legal mandate means the future of 40 percent of post-menopausal women have access to this important, lifesaving information,” Joseph J. Cappello told HCB News. “You can’t stop yourself from getting cancer, but finding it at its earliest stage is the key to better outcomes.”

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Destounis echoes this sentiment, saying the regulation will lead to more personalized care for women and offer additional studies to those at higher risk for breast cancer. She asserts, though, that ensuring complete awareness involves more than just a nationwide law, and that access must be available to additional forms of screening such as MR and ultrasound.

“We need to encourage open communication among health care providers, radiologists and women getting a mammogram on the benefits and limitations of mammography in denser breast tissue categories,” she said. “We need education regarding other screening tests that may be appropriate for these patients; identification of the higher-risk patient for breast cancer, and commitment to educating women and their physicians on the benefits of screening; and communication with insurers to make certain these additional screening tests are reimbursed so the patient does not have the financial burden of the screening studies.”

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