Breast density notification laws not effective for all women

January 09, 2020

New Haven, Conn. -- A new study suggests that state-mandated notifications on mammogram reports intended to inform women of the health risks related to breast density are not worded effectively.

The study, conducted by researchers at Yale and New York University, found that although dense breast notification (DBN) laws did help some women understand they had increased breast density, those women were not more likely to know that breast density is associated with a higher risk of breast cancer or that dense breasts limit the ability of mammograms to detect cancer. The finding was particularly pronounced for women with a high school education or less.

The study appears in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

"We know that women with less education are less likely to receive high-quality breast cancer screening and treatment," said senior author Cary Gross, M.D., a Yale professor of medicine and member of the Yale Cancer Center. "Our study underscores one potential mechanism for this disparity. Ensuring that notifications are written in simple language may help improve understanding of breast density for all women."

Thirty-eight states have enacted DBN laws. Critics of the laws have raised concerns that they might increase women's anxiety about getting breast cancer. There have also been concerns about the readability of language used in the notifications. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently announced a proposal to extend DBN requirements to all mammogram facilities.

For the new study, researchers surveyed 1,928 women across the country. They found no difference in breast cancer-related anxiety between women in DBN and non-DBN states. Women in DBN states were more likely to know if they have increased breast density, but only when those women had higher than a high school level of education.

"The goal for these state laws is not being met," said NYU's Kelly Kyanko, M.D., first author of the study. "Women who lived in states with DBN laws were not more likely to understand the implications of breast density -- that having dense breasts meant they were at increased risk of breast cancer or that the radiologist would have a harder time seeing a cancer on their mammogram."
-end-
Yale co-authors of the study are Jessica Hoag, Susan Busch, Jenerius Aminawung, Xiao Xu, and Ilana Richman.

A grant from the American Cancer Society funded the research.

Yale University

Related Breast Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

Oncotarget: IGF2 expression in breast cancer tumors and in breast cancer cells
The Oncotarget authors propose that methylation of DVDMR represents a novel epigenetic biomarker that determines the levels of IGF2 protein expression in breast cancer.

Breast cancer: AI predicts which pre-malignant breast lesions will progress to advanced cancer
New research at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, could help better determine which patients diagnosed with the pre-malignant breast cancer commonly as stage 0 are likely to progress to invasive breast cancer and therefore might benefit from additional therapy over and above surgery alone.

Partial breast irradiation effective treatment option for low-risk breast cancer
Partial breast irradiation produces similar long-term survival rates and risk for recurrence compared with whole breast irradiation for many women with low-risk, early stage breast cancer, according to new clinical data from a national clinical trial involving researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G.

Breast screening linked to 60 per cent lower risk of breast cancer death in first 10 years
Women who take part in breast screening have a significantly greater benefit from treatments than those who are not screened, according to a study of more than 50,000 women.

More clues revealed in link between normal breast changes and invasive breast cancer
A research team, led by investigators from Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, details how a natural and dramatic process -- changes in mammary glands to accommodate breastfeeding -- uses a molecular process believed to contribute to survival of pre-malignant breast cells.

Breast tissue tumor suppressor PTEN: A potential Achilles heel for breast cancer cells
A highly collaborative team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina and Ohio State University report in Nature Communications that they have identified a novel pathway for connective tissue PTEN in breast cancer cell response to radiotherapy.

Computers equal radiologists in assessing breast density and associated breast cancer risk
Automated breast-density evaluation was just as accurate in predicting women's risk of breast cancer, found and not found by mammography, as subjective evaluation done by radiologists, in a study led by researchers at UC San Francisco and Mayo Clinic.

Blood test can effectively rule out breast cancer, regardless of breast density
A new study published in PLOS ONE demonstrates that Videssa® Breast, a multi-protein biomarker blood test for breast cancer, is unaffected by breast density and can reliably rule out breast cancer in women with both dense and non-dense breast tissue.

Study shows influence of surgeons on likelihood of removal of healthy breast after breast cancer dia
Attending surgeons can have a strong influence on whether a patient undergoes contralateral prophylactic mastectomy after a diagnosis of breast cancer, according to a study published by JAMA Surgery.

Young breast cancer patients undergoing breast conserving surgery see improved prognosis
A new analysis indicates that breast cancer prognoses have improved over time in young women treated with breast conserving surgery.

Read More: Breast Cancer News and Breast Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.