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Breast Cancer Detection: New York Legislature Passes Notification Law for Dense Tissue

Failure to diagnose cancer is always serious. Some types of cancer spread more quickly than others. But no matter what type it is, the chances of a successful treatment are diminished when treatment is delayed.
This is true of ovarian cancer, breast cancer and many other types as well.
In New York State, the legislature has become concerned enough about this problem to pass a bill intended to aid in the early detection of breast cancer. The bill would make it mandatory that healthcare providers notify women when tests reveal dense breast tissue, and advise them to consider getting an ultrasound or some other type of follow-up screening.
Medical providers who do not give this notice could be fined up to $2,000.
Both the House and Senate have passed the bill. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reviewing it.
The bill faced little opposition. Supporters called attention to how widespread the presence of dense breast tissue is and how it can complicate the detection of cancer. Perhaps as many as four in 10 women have such tissue. Because it contains less fat and more connective-type tissue than other tissue, it can appear white on a mammogram – and therefore hid tumors.
Christine Quinn, the New York City council speaker, wrote a letter to Gov. Cuomo, encouraging him to sign the bill. She said she had heard from many women “who regularly received mammographies and were told their results were normal, when in reality the density of their breast obscured the fact that they had undetected cancerous growths.”
“A simple additional ultrasound,” Speaker Quinn added, “can help save thousands of women’s lives by increasing their chance of identifying breast cancer early on.”
At least three other states, including Connecticut, already have similar notification laws.

Author

Jay W. Dankner

JAY W. DANKNER was born, raised and educated in Brooklyn, New York. After graduation from law school in 1973, he joined the firm of the legendary, Harry H, Lipsig, under whose tutelage he learned the intricacies of civil litigation and trials. He tried and won his first case against General Motors in a case involving a design defect within weeks after his admission. Thereafter, he focused his attention on the emerging and developing field of law known as products liability litigation.

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