Pennsylvania Makes Informing Patients About Breast Density Mandatory

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Governor Tom Corbett has signed the Breast Density Notification Act into law, making Pennsylvania the 13th state to require mammogram results sent to patients to include breast density information.

According to advocates for the law, the change will improve early detection of breast cancer by alerting women that dense breast tissue can obscure some breast cancers in mammograms and encourage them to talk to their doctors about their individual risk and possible need for additional cancer screening.

At the signing, Corbett thanked the bill sponsors —Senator Bob Mensch (R-Montgomery) and Representative Karen Boback (R-Luzerne) — as well as the PA Breast Cancer Coalition (PBCC) for their work in getting the bill to his desk for signing.

"We applaud Governor Corbett for assisting in the battle to knock out breast cancer with enactment of this critical new law. This is a historic moment for breast cancer survivors in Pennsylvania and the PA Breast Cancer Coalition," said PBCC president and founder Pat Halpin-Murphy in a press release. "I want to thank Governor and Mrs. Corbett for recognizing the importance of the Breast Density Notification Act on the lives of women and families in our state. This legislation will save lives."

The new law will go into effect in February, 90 days from when it was signed.

With 13 states now requiring breast density information included in patients’ mammography results notifications, companies who furnish breast imaging technology or services are taking notice and adjusting their offerings. Only a week before the Pennsylvania bill became law, the North Carolina software and hardware diagnostic imaging solutions provider Viztek announced that it would partner with New Zeland’s Matakina to integrate the company’s VolparaDensity software for analyzing digital mammography and tomosynthesis images and objectively assessing breast density with the Viztek OPAL-PACS and OPAL-wRIS.

“Creating an objective, reproducible value within the RIS/PACS workflow is critical, not only for efficiency in practice, but for meeting the demands of new breast density legislation,” explained David Mezzoprete, vice president of sales at Matakina in the announcement. “Our partnership with Viztek establishes a new model for diagnosis and exam follow-up in this new era of regulated density reporting, and we are proud to play a role in enhancing patient care.”