Doctors, Patient Groups Split Over New Mammogram Laws
Physicians fear required warnings could prompt unneeded worry
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Oct 25, 2012 7:04 AM CDT
New laws on mammograms are proving controversial.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Doctors' groups and patient advocates are facing off over new state laws that require health professionals to warn women when mammograms reveal dense breast tissue. Density—the result of higher proportions of connective or glandular tissue—can make it more difficult to detect cancer, since both the tissue and tumors appear white on mammograms. In and of itself, density isn't a problem; as many as 40% of mammogram recipients have it, the New York Times notes.

While patient groups argue that women deserve to know about the potential risks, doctors worry that it could cause unnecessary stress, testing, and treatments. Density is a matter of opinion, they note. Studies have shown that women with dense breasts may face two to six times the risk of breast cancer. Research also shows that ultrasounds have been able to detect tumors unseen by mammograms, but those ultrasounds also prompted unnecessary biopsies. "I’m always worried when politicians start legislating the medical conversation, especially when it’s a medical conversation where the experts don’t know what needs to be said," says the American Cancer Society's chief medical officer.

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DougMasters
Oct 25, 2012 7:55 AM CDT
" "I’m always worried when politicians start legislating the medical conversation, especially when it’s a medical conversation where the experts don’t know what needs to be said," " Well that's a rock and a hard place if I have ever heard of it. "doctors worry that it could cause unnecessary stress, testing, and treatments" Ok, I want my doctor to be honest with me, it should be up to me, what to do with potential stress and whether or not I want something tested or treated. I don't want a Dr refusing to tell me something because of possible stress. I am a damn adult and my stress is my responsibility. INFORM me. I don't want Dr's keeping anything from me. I can't imagine any woman on this planet wouldn't want to be informed about dense breast tissue.