New federal law requires mammography providers to send breast density notifications

When President Donald Trump signed a federal funding bill into law on Feb. 15, it included text that said that all mammography providers must include updated information about breast density in reports sent to both patients and their physicians.

The notifications sent out to patients will inform them about their own personal breast density and explain the importance of that information. More than 30 states currently require such information to be shared with patients after they undergo a mammogram, a number that has been rising steadily for years.

JoAnn Pushkin, executive director of DenseBreast-info.org, explained in a prepared statement why this federal legislation is so significant to patients throughout the United States.

“While the state density inform laws encompass about 89 percent of American women, the laws vary in depth and breadth of notification,” she said. “More importantly, not all current density inform laws actually require that women be provided information about their own breast density. Implementation of this national law will help to address this disparity, as all imaging facilities that perform mammography screening will be required to provide at least the level of information required by the FDA's new reporting requirement.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein shared the news online through Twitter. While details are still coming out about this new legislation, the FDA is responsible for determining the language that will be required in these breast density notifications. Recent research from the Journal of the American College of Radiology conclude that notifications presently being sent to patients are too complex and should be presented in “an easily understandable format.”

DenseBreast-info.org also cited tireless efforts of Nancy Cappello, PhD, who led the push for such legislation after being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Cappello, who founded both Are You Dense? and Are You Dense? Advocacy, passed away in November 2018.

“This law is an important step forward, advanced by the efforts of many advocates, including those of the late Dr. Nancy Cappello of Are You Dense?” Pushkin said in the DenseBreast-info.org statement.