California Breast Density Law to Affect Orange County Women

  • Approximately 50 Percent of women to start receiving notification they have dense breast tissue after a screening mammogram.
  • Breastlink at the Breast Care and Imaging Center of Orange County (Breastlink of Orange) to launch educational awareness campaign to help women understand how breast density affects their personal level of risk to be diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Breastlink of Orange recently acquired Orange County’s first somo•v automated breast ultrasound (ABUS) to improve early breast cancer detections.

Breast Density LawORANGE, Calif., April 3, 2013 – Breastlink at the Breast Care and Imaging Center of Orange County (Breastlink Orange), a facility operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of RadNet, Inc., which manages a network of outpatient imaging and comprehensive cancer treatment centers, announced its effort to educate Orange County women about how the new California breast density notification law will impact them. All health centers that perform mammography in California will be required, starting April 1, to notify women they have dense breast tissue, as classified on a screening mammogram.

“While it may be confusing at first to learn you have dense breasts, notification will empower women to seek clarity on their risk of developing breast cancer,” said John West, M.D., medical director of surgery for Breastlink. “This is why we started Breastdensityinfo.com, to help women learn the facts about this important health issue.”

Breastdensityinfo.com, drafted and compiled by Dr. West and June Chen, M.D., medical director of Breast Radiology at Breastlink Orange, will provide facts and information about breast density and how it may impact one’s likelihood to develop breast cancer. Breastdensityinfo.com will also list upcoming free public speaking engagements. A list of public talks on breast density will also be available on breastlink.com.

Additionally, Breastlink Orange recently acquired a GE Healthcare somo-v automated breast ultrasound system (ABUS) unit. The new ultrasound device is FDA-cleared for screening in combination with mammography in women with dense breasts.

“Our breast density and risk assessment programs help women to understand their unique risks of developing breast cancer,” said Dr. Chen. “Dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect potentially cancerous lesions in their screening mammography imaging study. We expect our new somo•v ABUS system will help us detect small breast cancers that cannot be seen on screening mammograms alone.”

California will join Connecticut, New York, Texas and Virginia with a breast density notification law. A woman’s breast density is largely inherited but may vary over time due to age, hormones, diet or selective estrogen receptor modulators (e.g. tamoxifen). Radiologists classify breast density into one of four types using the BI-RADS (American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) scoring methodology.

  • Fatty (10 percent of women).
  • Scattered fibroglandular densities (40 percent of women).
  • Heterogeneously dense (40 percent of women).
  • Extremely dense (10 percent of women).

Patients classified with either heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue will receive a letter with the following lay summary:

Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

This information about the results of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness and to inform your conversations with your doctor. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of your results was sent to your physician.

About Breastlink

Breastlink is a network of comprehensive breast health centers offering full-service breast cancer treatment from initial screenings to the successful completion of treatment. Breastlink utilizes a multidisciplinary team of oncologists, surgeons, radiologists, psychotherapists, researchers and patient advocates on staff to address the needs of breast cancer patients. For more information on the breast density law please visit our breast density page.

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