Oregon Becomes 11th State to Pass Breast Density Legislation

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Governor John Kitzhaber (D) has signed Senate Bill 420 into law, making Oregon the 11th state to require providers to inform women with dense breast tissue that this may make mammography results harder to read

An earlier version of the bill also requires insurers to cover breast ultrasound for women with dense breast tissue, but this and other insurance-related provisions did not make it into the final bill.* As passed, the law only requires women with dense breast tissue to be informed in writing about their status and that they be advised to contact their health care provider regarding appropriateness of supplemental testing.

For Kathy Parara, a breast cancer patient who testified on behalf of the bill, the law comes too late to help her, but she wrote to the legislators that she hoped her story would help others. "My doctors failed to inform me of my breast density during any of the thirteen years that I had mammograms. ... Had I been informed of my breast density, I would have quickly paid out-of-pocket for an ultrasound. ... Just prior to my 49th birthday, I was diagnosed with invasive cancer in both breasts, one tumor being 6.5 cm. long (nearly three inches) which been inhabiting my body for eight to ten years."

The law is effective on January 1, 2014.


Article updated July 1, 2013: An earlier version of this story reported that the insurance provisions in the draft bill text had made it into the final law. They did not. In addition, the law is not effective immediately as previously reported. ImagingBiz regrets the error.