One of the most noted transformations in healthcare involves patients becoming proactive, well-informed consumers and gatekeepers to their own health. Recent evidence of this includes breast density notification laws that are developing across the country to standardize screenings and increase provider-to-patient communication.
The laws require doctors in nearly 20 states to notify their patients if they have dense breasts—a well-established predictor of breast cancer risk. The goal is to give women with dense breast tissue the information they need to discuss additional testing with their physicians.
This is good news for the 40 percent of women who have dense breast tissue, according to Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., and even more so for the vast majority of women who don’t know whether their breasts are dense or not. Lawmakers hope that providing patients with such information could lead to early diagnosis of breast cancer, when treatment is most effective.
To educate patients in a consistent manner, imaging teams— including radiology department leaders, mammographers, sonographers and radiologists—must work together with the provider community.