Photo courtesy of Are You Dense

Patients with heterogeneously dense breasts in North Dakota are entitled to notification of their dense breast tissue in their mammogram’s summary written report, under a new law.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota recently approved the breast density and reporting bill (House Bill No. 1370), which also requires facilities to include language in the report explaining that dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect cancer on a mammogram and that dense breast tissue may increase the patient’s risk of cancer.

North Dakota Reps. Kathy Hawken, R-46, and Pamela Anderson, D-41, supported the efforts after hearing from Cynthia Eggl, a Fargo, ND, resident, whose breast cancer was not detected until at a later stage.

“Too many women are relying on mammography alone to find potential breast cancer,” said Eggl, who was present for the signing. “For people with dense breast tissue, mammography may be missing early stage breast cancer, giving women a false sense of security that everything is fine. I appreciate the mentoring and leadership of Dr. Nancy Cappello and am grateful knowing my advocacy efforts will benefit women in my home state of North Dakota.”

Cappello is the founder of Are You Dense Inc., which educates the public about the risks and screening challenges of dense breast tissue. She also established Are You Dense Advocacy Inc. in 2011 to advocate for universal density reporting through state and federal laws and Mammography Quality Standards Act regulatory revision.

North Dakota joins 21 other states in enacting density reporting legislation. To view the approved law, visit nd.gov.

A federal senate and house bill was introduced on Feb. 5.?

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