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Beyer, who is spearheading the initiative in Illinois, said she’s spoken with state Sen. Michael Mc Auliffe, who tried to get a bill passed in 2014, when only about a dozen or so states had mandatory breast density notification laws.
Now that more than 30 states have such laws, Mulroe thinks legislation might have a better chance at passing. “If medical professionals are already doing it in 30 other states and they’re OK with it, I think it’s a better argument that we should be doing it here,” Mulroe said. ” The Illinois State Medical Society said it would evaluate any new legislation as it’s introduced and declined to comment on previous efforts to get such a law passed.
Beyer doesn’t have a family history of breast cancer, but dense breast tissue is a risk factor for the disease – and, in fact, was her only risk factor.
According to the American Cancer Society, women who have dense breast tissue have a “slightly” higher risk of developing breast cancer than those who do not.
There is also no consensus within the scientific community on the relationship between breast density and cancer risk,” ISMS wrote in a 2014 report to its members.
“It can hide cancers and can miss up to one-third of breast cancers in women with dense breast tissue with a mammogram screening, which is the gold standard [of screening] at this time.” Mammograms do detect the most common types of breast cancer, which form in the milk ducts of the breast, by detecting the calcification caused by abnormal cells within the milk ducts.Illinois does not have such a law, but Beyer knew she, like her sister, has dense breast tissue because a radiologist mentioned it to her in 2007. “They called me the next day and I had three mammograms, which were all normal,” Beyer said. Fortunately, Beyer’s cancer was small (measuring less than 1 centimeter in size) and detected early.“I was very sad about getting breast cancer, but it’s hard for me to complain at all because I was able to choose a lumpectomy and my cancer survival [rate] is very good because it was caught at an early stage,” she said.But in 2014, the ISMS voiced its opposition to legislation that would have mandated mammography reports sent to patients include information stating dense breast tissue makes it more difficult to identify cancer and may be associated with an increased risk of cancer.
“ISMS opposed this language because this bill would legislate the practice of medicine.
Patients of North Shore can access their mammography reports through the system’s patient portal, according to Spear.