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Breast Disease Society Joins Density Debate

November 7, 2012
Written by: , Filed in: Breast Imaging, Medical Ethics, Practice Management
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The American Society of Breast Disease (ASBD) has issued a new statement suggesting how women who receive mammograms should be informed of their breast density. The society says women also should be told their lifetime risk, expressed as a percentage, of developing breast cancer.

Sandhya Pruthi, MD, the society’s secretary-treasurer and a past director of Mayo Clinic‘s Breast Diagnostic Clinic, put it this way:

Adults today are expected to know their blood pressure numbers and their blood cholesterol levels so they can make sensible lifestyle and medical decisions. It’s just as important for adult women to know their lifetime risk for breast cancer and their breast density.

Dr. Pruthi was quoted in an ASBD news release. The release suggests using the Tyrer-Cuzik model to determine the lifetime risk percentage.

The density statement, released this month, promotes a multidisciplinary approach to mammography screening. That’s not surprising considering that the ASBD is a multidisciplinary medical society. The statement seems to have been crafted to please everybody. We wish the society good luck with that.

The statement suggests that “the technical and scientific information related to the dense breast issue is best analyzed by medical professionals.” But it adds, “Shared decision making between patients and their physicians—that is, the process of informed consent—promotes better patient satisfaction, compliance, and treatment outcomes.”

It even has kind words for legislators: “Legislative initiatives related to medical care are reasonable actions.”

We don’t think that’s true in all cases, but maybe our newly elected Congress will surprise us.

Stephen A. Feig, MD, the ASBD president, said in the news release:

We applaud the strong support for more effective breast screening that new breast density state legislation provides women and their physicians. ASBD’s new guidelines will help women and their doctors better understand the issues around breast density and how they can make better informed decisions about breast cancer screening.

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Related seminar: Breast Imaging and Intervention: A Comprehensive Review (discounts and free shipping for a limited time)


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