Bill requiring notice of dense breast tissue passes in Assembly

Bill requiring notice of dense breast tissue passes in Assembly

The Wisconsin Assembly has approved a bill that would require mammogram providers to notify women if they have dense breast tissue.

The bipartisan measure’s supporters say that information will help women make better health choices since it’s more difficult to detect cancerous tumors in women with dense breast tissue.

“The goal is to really increase the woman’s awareness of this issue, to discuss it with her doctor to see if further tests may be warranted,” said the bill’s author, Rep. Mike Rohrkaste, R-Neenah.

Dense breast tissue — considered to be a “normal finding” — is found in almost 40 percent of women, according to the bill’s text. But studies show that it comes with a slightly increased risk of breast cancer.

The bill requires providers to give women a notice explaining that they have what is known as “dark tissue” and they can talk with their doctor about whether they need additional cancer screening.

The measure is co-sponsored by Sen. Alberta Darling, a breast cancer survivor. She said the notice would ensure that women in Wisconsin can begin detecting breast cancer as early as possible.

The Senate companion to the bill still awaits a public hearing and a vote in the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.

Currently, 31 states require some form of reporting of a woman’s breast density.

The Assembly approved the bill on a voice vote Tuesday. It goes next to the state Senate.