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Breast Density Notification Bill Advances

Posted on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 7:16am

State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) watches as Radiologist Dr. Judy Dean speaks at a recent news conference at the Capitol.

A bill that would require California women to be told about the density of their breast tissue when they get mammogram results is moving through the Capitol.

The bill’s author is Democratic State Senator Joe Simitian. He says mammograms aren’t good at detecting cancer through dense breast tissue. He says women who get “all clear” results can develop a false sense of security.

Simitian said, “it’s not just that the report is incomplete. It is misleading, because it suggests that you got a healthy report – rather than acknowledging that there are limitations to the technology that was used for these particular women.”

But Bob Achermann with the California Radiological Society says the bill could lead to an increase in breast ultrasound exams – without the money to pay for them.

“We’re very concerned about the impact on women of wanting to have additional procedures done and then having to pay for it out-of-pocket, which is going to be a substantial burden on them,” Achermann said. “So we don’t think the science is there yet to justify this move.”

The measure passed an Assembly Committee Tuesday after passing the full Senate earlier this month.

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