Springfield, IL… Legislation introduced by State Representative Michael McAuliffe (R-Chicago) has unanimously passed both legislative chambers. The bill requires women to be informed if they have dense breast tissue, which raises a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. It also requires mammography providers to inform them of additional tests that may be needed for a proper diagnosis of breast cancer.
Non-dense breast tissue appears dark and transparent on a mammogram. However, many women have dense breast tissue, which appears as a solid white area on a mammogram. This makes cancer much more difficult to detect as it is difficult to see through and because cancer tumors also appear white. In these cases, a mammography alone can miss cancer diagnoses; as often as one third of the time.
“The earlier cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome,” Rep. McAuliffe said. “Unfortunately, many women are left unaware that their mammogram results were inconclusive and that they have a right to additional testing.”
In 2017, Illinois passed legislation to require that insurance cover MRIs or ultrasounds in addition to mammograms if a mammogram shows the presence of dense breast tissue. House Bill 4392 will serve to improve that mandate by requiring mammography providers to inform women if they have dense breast tissue and advise them of any supplemental tests they may need.
HB 4392 was sponsored in the Senate by Senator John Mulroe (D-Chicago). It now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature.