Dense breast notifications are having little impact

December 17, 2019

(Boston)--Dense Breast Notifications (DBNs) are having little impact.

DBNs are a written notification to a woman after a mammogram that her breasts are dense. The goal is to motivate her speak with her doctor about her personal risk and possibly obtain supplemental screening for breast cancer. DBNs are mandated legislatively in more than 35 states and the Food Drug Administration (FDA) is developing standardized language for a federal/nationwide notification.

Prior findings from researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) showed many states' DBNs are written at a higher literacy level than women residing in that state, which suggests that women may not be able to understand the notifications. Now those same researchers have conducted one of the first national surveys to ask women about their reactions to these notifications and to understand their knowledge, awareness and plans about breast density while examining whether these findings vary among women of varying race/ethnicity groups.

Overall, they found few differences in responses between women residing in states that require DBNs versus those who do not. There were no differences in awareness that women with dense breasts have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, and no differences in the proportion of women who had discussed breast density with their doctor. "This suggests that DBNs are not achieving their desired effects, which is contrary to their goal," explained corresponding author Nancy Kressin, PhD, professor of medicine at BUSM. They also found white women with higher incomes had more knowledge when it came to breast density while black women experienced greater anxiety and confusion. "This is particularly concerning given black women's greater mortality from breast cancer."

The researchers hope that the FDA will consider these findings as they develop language for federal notifications regarding breast density, in order to ensure that the wording of the federal notification is clear and understandable to all women and that it leads to the desired outcomes and that unintended harms do not occur.
-end-
These findings appear online in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Funding for this study was provided by a pilot grant from the Boston University Clinical and Translational Science institute (1UL1TR001430). Dr. Kressin was supported in part by a Senior VA Health Services Research Career Scientist award from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research & Development Service (RCS 02-066-1). Dr. Gunn receives support from the National Cancer Institute (1K07CA221899-01A1).

Boston University School of Medicine

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.