DES MOINES, Iowa – Breast cancer awareness group, the Iowa Army of Pink, saw a bill they introduced to lawmakers earlier this month receive unanimous support from the Iowa Senate Tuesday.
The bill deals with mammogram reports and what they’re required to include. Currently in Iowa, doctors don’t have to include information on breast tissue density in mammogram reports. Iowa Army of Pink organizers say dense breast tissue can prevent a potentially cancerous tumor from being detected in a mammogram, and also raises the risk of a woman developing breast cancer. The bill seeks to make it state law for doctors to notify women if they have dense breast tissue in their mammogram reports.
“It can only be determined by a radiologist looking at a mammogram, so a woman cannot feel it or see it on herself,” said Sharon Hornsberger. “However, it only gets disclosed currently in the report that goes to the referring physician. So, many women have dense breast tissue but aren’t even aware. We have a number of survivors with us here today – myself included – with dense breast tissue, where cancer wasn’t detected on a mammogram. What ends up happening is, it results in a later stage diagnosis, and the treatment and the options as available are not as great as when caught early.”
The bill received a unanimous vote, 49-0, in the Senate Tuesday. The Iowa Army of Pink introduced a similar bill last session, where it passed in the Senate as well. However, it didn’t make it to a House subcommittee, and so it died. Organizers say they’re hoping for better luck with the House this session.