New breast cancer screening requirements lead to early detection
Posted at: 07/23/2012 10:50 PM
| Updated at: 07/23/2012 11:30 PM
By: Amanda Ciavarri | WHEC.com
It means things will change a little for women when they go to get their mammograms. Now, when the results come back, doctors will have to notify women if they have dense breast tissue.
If they do -- the mammogram may not be as accurate -- and some women could choose to have more screening done.
Avice O’Connell, of the University of Rochester Medical Center’s Department of Imaging Sciences says, “Unfortunately, it is harder to find the cancer in the dense breast.”
Monday, Governor Cuomo signed a bill into law that is aimed to better protect women.
The law now requires radiologists to let women know if their mammogram shows they have dense breast tissue.
If a woman does her doctor could recommend she get an ultrasound to better scan for cancer.
O’Connell says, “There is a bit of concern that if woman get a report that their density is very high -- they will be very concerned and think they will definitely get breast cancer, which is just not the case. There is a small increased risk of breast cancer in dense breasts. We don't want women to be alarmed.”
Governor Cuomo released this statement on the law saying quote:
"Early detection can save lives and this new law will give women who may be at a higher risk for breast cancer the information they need to consult with their physician about follow-up screening and other preventive measures."
Experts agree they say if you are told you have dense breasts talk to your doctor before going forward with additional screening. They say risk factors will play a big role on if a woman may need additional testing.
News10NBC is told this law is a step in the right direction -- but woman still need to be vigilant about breast health.
O’Connell concludes, “It's a very good idea that women know the mammogram is not 100%. That, I think, is very important -- but it’s also important to know that if your density is above 50%, you can get a ultrasounds and that will find everything. No test will find everything.”
New York is the fourth state to sign this bill into law.
California voted it down.
Now, it's too soon to tell if insurance companies will cover the cost for everyone and as of yet, the cost is $300 - $400.
Also, they say it would be impossible to do additional tests on all the women who have high density.
Hospitals just don't have the staffing.
So, family history and other risk factors will play a big role and, again, experts advise to talk to your doctor.