Proposal would require dense breast tissue notifications

Advocates testify befroe the Senate Public Health CommitteeSPRINGFIELD – Women would have access to vital medical information that could increase early breast cancer detection rates under legislation sponsored by State Senator John G. Mulroe.

Senate Bill 2442 requires every mammography service provider to inform patients if they have dense breast tissue and provide information on the related risk factors. Dense breast tissue and cancer cells can appear similarly on mammograms, making detection more difficult.

“By informing women if they have dense breast tissue, they will be able to consult with their doctors about additional preventative measures,” said Mulroe (D-Chicago). “It’s important for women to have all the facts. This is one more way we’re working to ensure that women find out if they are at risk of breast cancer sooner.”

The measure advanced out of the Senate Public Health Committee this week. It has bipartisan support in the legislature and the backing of advocates and medical professionals.

“Senate Bill 2442 would ensure that every woman in Illinois would be notified if they have dense breast tissue and made aware of their options to conduct additional exams along with their yearly mammogram,” said Patti Beyer, cancer survivor and advocate from Glenview.

Senator Mulroe with Patti Beyer and Dr. Spear“Dense breast tissue masks cancers in mammograms, allowing diagnosis to be delayed until after it advances into a life-threatening, late-stage cancer. This legislation would give every woman the opportunity for an early-stage diagnosis.”

The legislation would have a great effect on women’s health, said Dr. Georgia Giakoumis Spear, section chief of breast imaging at NorthShore University HealthSystem and assistant professor of radiology at the University of Chicago.

“As a radiologist, I see the impact of breast density in my practice every day. Nearly half of women we screen have dense breast tissue. Breast density can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer and elevate a woman’s risk for developing breast cancer,” she said.

“This legislation would serve to educate and inform women in the state of Illinois of their breast density in order to achieve their best chances for early detection of breast cancer.”

Senate Bill 2442 is not the first piece of legislation to reduce breast cancer that Mulroe has worked on. He also sponsored legislation that became law in 2016 ensuring 3D mammograms are covered by insurance in Illinois.


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