Breast cancer is most often fought in hospitals and cancer centers, but new legislation in the New York State Assembly and Senate has taken it to the halls of government.

New York Senator John J. Flanagan (2nd District) and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee (95th District) have introduced joint legislation to require insurance companies to cover the cost of supplemental screenings of women with dense breast tissue. The legislation (A9586/S6769) would also require every mammography report given to patients who have dense breast tissue to state in plain, non-technical language that she has dense tissue and should discuss with her physician the potential need for and availability of further screenings.

The legislation was drafted after Flanagan and Jaffee were contacted by JoAnn Pushkin, a Dix Hills, N.Y., breast cancer survivor and executive director of Are You Dense Advocacy. Pushkin advised in the drafting of the legislation and is also currently advocating similar measures in 12 other states and at the federal level.

If the New York measure is passed it will join a growing fraternity of states—including Connecticut, Texas, and Virginia—that has breast density inform laws in effect. According to medical studies, women with dense breast tissue are four to six times more likely to develop breast cancer; however, a recent Harris Interactive survey found that 95% of women didn’t know if breast density was a risk factor and less than one-in-10 learn about breast density from their physician.

Source: Press Release and web link