Nancy C. Dolan, MD; Mita Sanghavi Goel, MD, MPH
Acknowledgment: The authors thank Dr. Judith Wolfman for her assistance with preparing this editorial and ensuring its clarity and accuracy.
Disclosures: Disclosures can be viewed at www.acponline.org/authors/icmje/ConflictOfInterestForms.do?msNum=M15-0821.
Requests for Single Reprints: Nancy C. Dolan, MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 675 North St. Clare, Suite 18-200, Chicago, IL 60611; e-mail, email@example.com.
Current Author Addresses: Dr. Dolan: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, 675 North St. Clare, Suite 18-200, Chicago, IL 60611.
Dr. Goel: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Rubloff Building, 10th Floor, 750 North Lake Shore, Chicago, IL 60611.
Dolan NC, Goel MS. It's Not All About Breast Density: Risk Matters. Ann Intern Med. 2015;162:729-730. doi: 10.7326/M15-0821
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2015;162(10):729-730.
Breast density is a prickly topic. Data suggest that dense breast tissue, typically defined radiographically as heterogeneously or extremely dense breasts, confers an increased risk for breast cancer and decreases the sensitivity of mammography (1). While the medical community continues to assess optimal methods of managing breast cancer screening in women with dense breasts, legislative changes have brought this issue to the forefront. Since 2009, in response to grassroots advocacy, at least 21 states have enacted legislation mandating that women with mammographically dense breasts receive information about this finding with their mammography results. The language of the laws varies, with some requiring only patient notification and others recommending that women discuss additional imaging with their physicians. At the national level, the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act has been proposed and is under review. Currently, however, there is no consensus on the optimal approach to supplemental imaging in women with dense breasts (2). Perhaps because of this uncertainty, many providers, including primary care physicians, are uncomfortable answering patients' questions about breast density (3).
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Hematology/Oncology, Breast Cancer, Cancer Screening/Prevention, Prevention/Screening.
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