A Utah state senator is pushing a bill that would encourage radiologists to include information about breast density in the report that women receive after a mammogram. The bill originally required the inclusion, but it was amended to merely encourage it.
Dense breast tissue may mask tumors on a mammogram and is a risk factor for breast cancer.
Senator Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, is sponsoring the legislation. According to the Deseret News newspaper of Salt Lake City, she told the Utah Senate Health and Human Services Committee last week:
Today I bring you a bill of love. I don’t want my sisterhood to have any more tragedy, loss of life, loss of income.
The committee unanimously voted to send the legislation to the Senate floor, though one committee member said he had reservations. “I have a general concern in incorporating suggestions into our code,” said Senator Mark Madsen, R-Lehi. He said he also didn’t like legislating the practice of medicine, though he didn’t object to the notification recommendation itself.
The Utah Medical Association supported the amended legislation, said Michelle McOmber, executive vice president:
Part of the reason why we didn’t want a mandate was because health care changes so quickly. We feel good with the amendment.
Mayne said she would have preferred the original bill’s mandate. “We need something that has some teeth,” she said.
McOmber said women can already learn about their breast density from their primary-care physician, who receives a detailed mammogram report from the radiologist. But Senator Luz Robles, D-Salt Lake City, said that wasn’t enough. Women shouldn’t have to ask for that information, she said.
“It’s not because we don’t want to know,” she said. “You expect to get information that is relevant to your health.”
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Related seminar: Breast & Women’s Imaging Seminar