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House passes dense breast tissue notification bill

A bipartisan majority of state lawmakers in the Minnesota House of Representatives Monday approved a bill authored by Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL–Balsam Township, designed to save lives in the fight against breast cancer.

Anzelc’s bill (House File 2551), which was included as an amendment to the Health and Human Services Policy Omnibus bill, passed by a vote of 126-7.

HF 2551 builds on existing federal law that requires communication of mammography results to patients and health care providers within 30 days of the examination. Anzelc’s bill requires the facility performing the mammogram to communicate to the patient that she has dense breast tissue and that it may increase the risk of breast cancer.

“This is a common sense measure that improves Minnesotans’ ability to make informed choices with their families and doctors about their health,” said Anzelc. “It allows a woman to know that dense breast tissue is an issue that may require special attention by the patient and clinical professionals.”

The National Cancer Institute calls dense breasts “a strong risk factor for developing breast cancer.” In addition, dense breast tissue makes it harder to detect cancer. For example, dense breasts appear white on mammograms, and so does cancer, so the tissue can hide tumors.

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