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Dense Breast Notification Laws Add Complexity To Breast Cancer Screening Debate

Friday, April 17, 2015
In a 1,400-word story, Kaiser Health News (4/17) reports that “dense breast notification laws have added another layer of complexity to the long-running and often emotional debate over how best to screen women for breast cancer.” While “critics say the laws cause women unnecessary anxiety and can lead to higher costs and treatment that doesn’t save lives or otherwise benefit patients,” others have “hailed” the “laws...as empowering women to take charge of their own health.” 

Full Potential Of Screening Mammography Depends On The Interpretive Skills Of The Radiologists Who Read The Exams

Friday, April 17, 2015
Aunt Minnie (4/17) reports that while “screening mammography’s benefits have been shown in clinical trials...the full potential of the technology depends on the interpretive skills of the individual radiologists who read the exams, according to” research published in the American Journal of Roentgenology. Aunt Minnie adds, “Measuring this skill requires the establishment of particular criteria, so that physicians whose performance is less than optimal can be identified and encouraged to get more training...wrote” the researchers. 

North Dakota Governor Signs Breast Density Bill Into Law

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
HealthImaging (4/15, Godt) reports that North Dakota’s “breast density reporting bill requiring that patients are notified if a mammogram reveals dense breast tissue” has been signed into law by Governor Jack Dalrymple (R). 

Report: US Spending On False-Positive Mammograms, Breast Cancer Overdiagnoses Estimated At $4 Billion Annually

Tuesday, April 7, 2015
According to the AP (4/7, Alonso-Zaldivar), “a new report estimates that the U.S. spends $4 billion a year on unnecessary medical costs due to mammograms that generate false alarms, and on treatment of certain breast tumors unlikely to cause problems.” The research, published in “Health Affairs, breaks the cost down as follows: $2.8 billion resulting from false-positive mammograms and another $1.2 billion attributed to breast cancer overdiagnosis,” which is “the treatment of tumors that grow slowly or not at all, and are unlikely to develop into life-threatening disease during a woman’s lifetime.”
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