Breast Tissue Screening Bill: A Woman's Right to Know?
A breast tissue screening bill was recently passed by the California Legislature. The focus of the bill is a mandate that physicians must alert patients who have dense breast tissue that their mammograms may fail to reveal a hidden breast cancer. Physicians are fighting the breast tissue screening bill stating that such a measure would cause unnecessary anxiety and place a financial hardship on the medical system and the patients.
Breast Tissue Screening Bill
The origin of Senate Bill 791: Comprehensive Breast Tissue Screening 2011 (previously known as Senate Bill 173), was due to a late stage breast cancer diagnosis of Amy Colton, a registered nurse who faithfully had routine mammograms performed beginning at age 40. Over the past several years she was told that her mammograms showed negative for breast cancer.
After a recent physical revealed her late stage breast cancer, she was told that her previous mammograms had failed to reveal any tumors because her breast tissue was thick and had hid her developing tumors. She later learned that her physician and radiologist both knew that she had extremely dense breast tissue that could interfere with mammogram testing, but they never told her about her breast’s condition and the risk dense breast tissue carries for cancer. Amy Colton stated that, “I’m the patient, it’s my body. But I was never informed.”
Soon afterward, Amy went to the office of Senator Joe Simitian D-Palo Alto, who then began lobbying for a Bill that would require medical doctors to alert their patients who have dense breast tissue.