New legislation mandates nationwide breast density notification

Federal law now requires mammography facilities include breast density information in reports sent to patients and their physicians. The mandate was included in federal funding legislation signed into law on Feb 15.

The law specifies the FDA must develop standard reporting language and ensure mammography reports and summaries include, at a minimum, the following three pieces of information:

1. How breast density may mask cancer on a mammogram.

2. A qualitative assessment of breast density as performed by the reader.

3. A reminder to individuals with dense breasts to talk with their provider if they have questions.

JoAnn Pushkin, executive director of DenseBreast-info.org, said the new law will help address the holes in existing state-based breast density legislation.

"While the state density inform laws encompass about 89% of American women, the laws vary in depth and breadth of notification.  More importantly, not all current density inform laws actually require that women be provided information about their own breast density," Pushkin said in a prepared statement. "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."