Following the lead of several other states, Rhode Island has become the 17th state to pass breast density reporting legislation after Governor Lincoln Chafee signed the bill. The law takes effect October 1, 2014 and requies physicians to notify patients if they possess dense breast tissue, which can mask the appearance of cancers.

The bill was championed by Ann Galligan Kelley, a professor of accountancy at Providence College. She received a stage 3B breast cancer diagnosis a few months after completing normal mammogram and was instrumental in pushing for legislation.

Nancy Cappello, PhD, founder of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc, an organization supporting the state-by-state push for legislation, commented, “The impact of Connecticut’s law has resulted in a significant increase in the detection of early, small, and node-negative invasive breast cancers in women with dense breast tissue and otherwise ‘normal’ mammograms. It mirrors the two decades of research that demonstrate the limitations of mammography in dense breasts. Now women of Rhode Island will be notified of this critical breast health issue.”