Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) have introduced breast density legislation aimed at improving breast cancer screening for women. Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn) and Steve Israel (NY) have introduced related legislation in the House.

Under the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act, providers would be required to include breast density information in mammogram reports, allowing women to discuss with their doctors whether they should pursue additional screening. Though several states have passed similar mandates, no federal requirement currently exists.

“Early detection of breast cancer is key to survival, and women must be given every available resource to make informed health care decisions,” said Sen. Feinstein. “By requiring that patients be informed if they have dense tissue, this bill allows women to make potentially lifesaving choices about their care.”

Dense breast tissue may mask the appearance of cancer, resulting in apparently normal mammograms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer deaths among Hispanic women and the second-leading cause of cancer deaths for white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women.

“Preventative screenings are critically important to early detection of breast cancer, and they help save lives,” said Sen. Ayotte. “It’s also important that women have the information they need to be able to make informed decisions about their health care, and our bipartisan bill would ensure that women are informed about their relative breast density after a mammogram—giving them the option to discuss additional screenings and tests with their doctor.”

Groups expressing support for the bill include the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the Breast Cancer Fund, Susan G. Komen, and Are You Dense Advocacy.

For the full release, visit Sen. Feinstein’s website.