Some California Physicians Reportedly Unaware of New Breast Cancer Law Mandating Patient Notification of Dense Breast Tissue

Some California Physicians Reportedly Unaware of New Breast Cancer Law Mandating Patient Notification of Dense Breast Tissue
Less than a year after California's law-makers passed a disputed law requiring all radiologists to inform women if they have dense breast tissue, a team of researchers from the University of California Davis discovered that 50 percent of primary care physicians are still unaware of this law, and that most of them are uncomfortable talking about the patient's breast density with them. These findings from UC Davis' study, titled, "Impact of the California Breast Density Law on Primary Care Physicians," are due to be published in the upcoming March issue of the Journal of the American College of Radiology, and suggest that if any laws concerning patient care are to make a significant impact, physicians need to be well-informed and trained, particularly with breast density and alternatives in breast imaging. “Overall, the impact of the breast density legislation probably is not significant if primary care physicians are not educated or aware of it," study's lead author Kathleen Khong, a UC Davis radiologist and staff physician, said in a news release. “We should put some emphasis on educating the primary care physicians so that when they get questions from patients, they can be comfortable in addressing the issues.” According to the law, physicians are mandated to notify patients whose breast tissue density is classified as “heterogeneously dense” or “extremely dense,” which is normally the case in about 50 percent of women. The notification will read as follows: “Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. This information about
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