Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed breast density reporting legislation (HB 4392) Aug. 10, 2018, requiring all mammography services providers in the state to inform patients when their mammography reveals the presence of “dense breast tissue” (defined as heterogeneously dense or extremely dense). The new law will be effective Jan. 1, 2019.
In such instances, patient summary reports must just include a statement substantially similar to the one using the following language provided in the statute:
“Your mammogram indicates you have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue is normal and identified on mammograms in about 50 percent of women. Dense breast tissue can make it more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram and may be associated with an increased risk for breast cancer. Despite these limitations, screening mammograms have been proven to save lives. Continue to have routine screening mammography whether or not additional exams are suggested for you. This information is provided to raise your awareness of the impact of breast density on cancer detection. For further information about dense breast tissue, as well as other breast cancer risk factors, contact your breast imaging health care provider.”
The new law stipulates that a facility that performs mammography may update the language in its notices to reflect advances in science and technology as long as it continues to notify patients that their mammogram indicates they have dense breast tissue and to describe its effect on the accuracy of mammograms. It must also encourage patients to discuss the issue with their health care provider.
For facilities seeking to offer additional educational resources to patients, the American College of Radiology (ACR) has created a brochure that covers essential facts about breast density in the context of getting a mammogram. The brochure can be downloaded for free from the ACR website or the Mammography Saves Lives website.