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Senate OKs mammogram notification bill

By KRISTEN SMITH

Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Senate Monday unanimously joined the House in passing a bill that requires women to be notified of dense breast tissue in mammogram results.

Senators voted 40-0 for House Bill 1778, which had been approved 98-0 by the House on Jan. 25. The legislation now goes to Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Springfield, introduced HB 1778, which “clarifies the conditions under which a mammography services provider must notify a patient of dense breast tissue.”

This bill also changes the current wording of the mammogram notification letter that is provided to a patient.

“I think this additional language is a common-sense step in the right direction for women’s health,” Filler-Corn said.

Under HB 1778, doctors interpreting a mammogram X-ray will have to notify the patient if they find that she has heterogeneously dense or extremely dense breast tissue. Physicians would make such a determination based on nationally recognized guidelines, including the Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System of the American College of Radiology.

Dense breast tissue is not uncommon in women. It can make it more difficult to find cancerous cells on a standard mammogram.

“Many of the procedures that women will go on to have after consultation and notification from the mammogram about the dense breast tissue can be life-saving,” Filler-Corn said.

In 2012, the General Assembly passed Virginia’s first “breast density inform” law.

Besides adjusting the law this year, legislators are considering a resolution about breast cancer.

House Joint Resolution 762, sponsored by Delegate Delores McQuinn, D-Richmond, requests local health departments “establish a breast cancer awareness and prevention protocol to increase early detection of breast cancer, successful treatment outcomes, and survival rates.”

The House unanimously approved the resolution last week. It is now in the Senate Rules Committee.

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