What this means for women in northern Nevada.
AB 147, as it’s been known in the legislature, was signed into law on Monday. The bill will require doctors to notify mammogram patients of their breast tissue density. About 40 percent of all women undergoing mammograms have dense breast tissue. Dense breast tissue has a higher instance of cancer and makes it more difficult to detect compared to fattier tissue.
“We are so glad that the breast density legislation was signed into law here in Nevada,” said Fran Burhans, supervisor of Renown Breast Health Center. “Dense breast tissue makes it harder to detect cancer so it’s important for women to be informed so they can take the opportunity to do an additional screening, which could save their life.”
Local Channel 2 news anchor, Wendy Damonte, personally recruited James Cohen, M.D., director of outpatient infusion at Renown Health, to testify in favor of the bill.
“Wendy was the first to tell me about the bill,” said James Cohen, MD. “To me it’s a no brainer to inform women. You have no idea how many women I have seen over the years that had huge tumors that didn’t show up on their mammograms. I think it will save lives.”
Breast tissue is rated on a scale of one to four. Dense breast tissue shows up as white on a mammogram, just like cancers do, it is often described as looking for a snowball in a snowstorm. For patients with dense breasts a doctor may recommend having additional scans done such as SonoCine.
Having SonoCine whole breast ultrasound in combination and comparison to a mammogram can give the full picture of breast health. These two screening procedures can provide early detection to those with dense breasts in a way that a mammogram alone may not.
The mammogram, unlike SonoCine, sees calcifications in the breast. SonoCine sees lesions, nodules, cysts and other irregularities that the mammogram does not detect in dense breasts.
SonoCine is not currently covered by insurance. Renown Breast Health Center is running a special for $150 which has been extended to June 30. Consult your doctor to see if this should be part of your yearly checkup. To find a doctor visit renown.org/finadoc and for more information about SonoCine visit renown.org/sonocine.