Legacy Health Preparing Women and Physicians for New Breast Density Notification Law
Efforts will raise awareness of new law, educate women and physicians about links between breast density and breast cancer risk and alleviate unnecessary fears
December 5, 2013 (Portland, Ore.)--In advance of Oregon's new Dense Breast Notification law requiring mammography facilities to notify patients if they have extremely dense breast tissue, Legacy Health is preparing women and their physicians for the new law by raising awareness of breast density and its links to breast cancer risk.
Legacy Health will launch number of educational efforts for patients and physicians in advance of the law, SB 420, taking effect on January 1, 2014. Specific efforts targeted at patients include providing them with educational materials in Legacy Breast Health Center waiting rooms, speaking with them one-on-one at the time of their mammogram, providing an informational web site and reaching out via social media. Legacy is also educating physicians about the new law and what it means for their patients by hosting question and answer forums, providing tools for implementing the law and meeting with interested physicians individually.
"We are setting out on this mission today to ensure patients fully understand what it means when they receive a letter telling them they have 'dense breasts'", said Nathalie Johnson, M.D., medical director of Legacy Breast Health Centers and Legacy Cancer Institute. "Raising awareness of this law before it takes effect will allow women to be prepared for this information, better understand their breast cancer risk factors and in turn, limit unnecessary fears."
Starting January 2014, every Legacy mammography site will measure and score each patient's tissue density. As required by the new law, they will then notify patients of their breast density in a letter and indicate they should contact their health care provider to find out if they recommend additional screening. Although the law only requires mammography facilities to notify women who have dense or extremely dense breast tissue, Legacy Breast Health Centers will send a letter to all women density regardless of their density rating, in order to avoid confusion.
Having dense breasts is very common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue may make it harder to find cancer on a traditional 2-D mammogram and, therefore, may be linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. However, several studies have shown 3-D mammography to be more accurate than 2-D, particularly in women with dense breast tissue. Legacy Health was the first to introduce Portland to 3-D mammography (tomosynthesis) in September 2012 and recently installed 3-D machines at each of its four breast health centers located throughout the region--making it the first and only provider in the Portland-metro/southwest Washington region to offer this technology to every patient, every time, at multiple locations. Legacy Emanuel Medical Center plans to install the 3-D technology in the spring.
About Legacy Breast Health Centers
Legacy Health is accredited for excellence in breast imaging by the American College of Radiology.
Many of Legacy Breast Health Centers have earned additional accreditation for breast care excellence by the American College of Surgeons National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers.
Legacy Health was awarded the Outstanding Achievement award by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, the only Oregon health system to achieve this.