According to research, 40 percent of women have dense breasts which not only puts them at a higher risk for breast cancer, but dense breast tissue makes it harder for doctors to see cancer on mammograms, often delaying diagnoses.
Because dense breast tissue appears white on mammogram, and breast masses or tumors also look white, the dense tissue can hide tumors. On the other hand, when women whose breasts contain more fatty tissue have a mammogram, the picture appears almost black, so that something white, such as a tumor, can be easily seen.
Despite the fact that the difficulty in finding tumors in women with dense breasts using mammography has been known for decades, legislation requiring radiologists to share such critical information with patients so they can talk with their physicians about alternative testing options has been an uphill battle.
The map n this page indicates the state by state status of legislation. Color coding is as follows:
PINK: Enacted Law
RED: Introduced Bill
BLUE: Working on Bill
WHITE: No Action
BLACK: Insurance Coverage Law
As of this date, only 14 states have actually passed density reporting laws. They include New Jersey Tennessee, Hawaii, Maryland, Alabama, Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, New York, Texas and Connecticut.
Another 18 states including Florida have either introduced similar legislation or are reviewing it.
An advocacy group for federal and state by state legislation known as "Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. has this stated mission:
- Advocate for and support State and Federal legislative and Regulatory efforts to standardize the communication of dense breast tissue to women.
- Advocate for and support State and Federal legislative and Regulatory efforts for access to reliable breast screening technologies for women with dense breast tissue.
Anyone interested in joining the fight in Florida, check out this link for information on how you can Take Action