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State Breast Density Notification Laws May Up Ultrasound Use

Last Updated: March 22, 2019.

Dense breast notification laws are associated with increased use of ultrasound and cancer detection only when notification of the possible benefits of supplemental screening is required, according to a study published online March 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.

FRIDAY, March 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Dense breast notification (DBN) laws are associated with increased use of ultrasound and cancer detection only when notification of the possible benefits of supplemental screening is required, according to a study published online March 21 in the American Journal of Public Health.

Susan Busch, Ph.D., from the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues evaluated the association between state DBN laws and use of supplemental tests and cancer diagnosis after screening mammography by using data from privately insured women aged 40 to 59 years living in nine states that enacted DBN laws (2014-2015) and 25 states with no DBN law in effect. They examined 1,441,544 screening mammograms.

The researchers found that DBN laws that mandate notification of possible benefits of supplemental screening were associated with 10.5 more ultrasounds per 1,000 mammograms and 0.37 more breast cancers detected per 1,000 mammograms versus no DBN law. There were no significant differences in either ultrasound or cancer detection associated with generic DBN laws.

"Our study suggests that if one of the goals of dense breast notification laws is to change clinical practice, the language of the legislation is important," Busch said in a statement.

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