New Laws Add a Divisive Component to Breast Screening


October 25, 2012

New York Times - In a move that has irked medical groups and delighted patient advocates, states have begun passing laws requiring clinics that perform mammograms to tell patients whether they have something that many women have never even heard of: dense breast tissue. Women who have dense tissue must, under those laws, also be told that it can hide tumors on a mammogram, that it may increase the risk of breast cancer and that they should ask their doctors if they need additional screening tests, like ultrasound or M.R.I. scans. The issue is pitting angry patients against the medical establishment. Advocates say women have a right to know, but medical groups argue that the significance of tissue density is uncertain and that reporting it may panic women and lead to an avalanche of needless screening tests and biopsies.

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