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Minnesota Doctors Required to Inform Women of Dense Breast Tissue

Women in Minnesota will now be notified if their mammogram indicates dense breast tissue.

A new law that went into effect Aug. 1 in Minnesota requires doctors to inform women when there is dense tissue present in breast cancer screenings that can make it difficult to diagnose the disease. According to the Star Tribune, women who are cancer-free are typically sent an all-clear letter after a mammogram, but the law now requires the disclosure that mammograms may not able to to identify breast cancer as a result of the dense breast tissue.

Nancy Capello became an advocate for state-mandated disclosure of tissue density after mammograms when her doctor was unable to find a tumor that then spread to other parts of her body. The source reported that as many as 47 percent of women have dense breast tissue that can hide a tumor in an X-ray. Having dense breast tissue can increase a woman's chance of developing the disease by up to 8 percent, but some doctors feel that knowing about dense breast tissue isn't necessary for patients.

There are doctors that don't offer up this information to women because it's still unclear as to what alternative cancer screenings are the best at identifying the disease.

There wasn't very much opposition to the bill in Minnesota due to breast cancer advocacy campaigns that encourage an increase in screenings even if it amounts to higher cases of misdiagnosis and overtreatmenttreatment, the source stated.

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