AUSTIN, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Governor Rick Perry of Texas has signed into law Texas Act HB2102, known as “Henda’s Law” which takes effect September 1, 2011. Texas becomes the second state, joining the state of Connecticut, to mandate the inclusion of breast density risk language in the report sent to women after their mammogram.
Henda’s Law began with Henda Salmeron of Dallas, now a breast cancer survivor since her diagnosis of Stage II breast cancer in 2009. Her breast cancer hadn't been discovered on her mammogram due to her high level of dense breast tissue. “I had never heard the word “dense breast” until I was sitting in the oncologist office with a breast cancer diagnosis. I wondered how this had happened and why didn’t I know?” says Salmeron.
“According to a recent Harris Poll, 95% of women are utterly unaware of their own breast density as there is currently no protocol in 48 of 50 states for her to be told,” says Dr. Nancy Cappello, President and Co-Founder of Are You Dense Advocacy™ and responsible for the first dense breast information law passed in Connecticut in 2009.
“If a tumor is missed year after year on a mammogram, it is often discovered much later when the tumor is large enough to be felt. This delayed diagnosis can take years and cancers caught at such a later stage have been proven to be both less treatable and survivable”, added Cappello. Newer breast imaging technologies have been developed and can see right through breast density. With the supplement of newer imaging tools, such as Ultrasound, MRI, or Molecular Breast Imaging (MBI), tumor detection has increased when compared to mammography in women with dense breasts.
The American Cancer Society describes breast density as the relative amount of different tissues present in the breast. A dense breast has less fat than glandular and connective tissue. Mammogram films of breasts with higher density are harder to read and interpret than those of less dense breasts. Both cancer and density appear white on a mammogram so detecting tumors can be as impossible as finding a snowball in a snowstorm.
According to the American College of Radiology Imaging Network (ACRIN), 40% of all women undergoing screening mammography have dense breasts. Breasts tend to become less dense as women get older, but some women continue to have dense breast tissue throughout life. Over 50% of women under the age of 50 and one-third of women older than 50, have mammographically dense breasts.
“I am thrilled that women of Texas will join Connecticut and receive this life-saving information about their breast health,” adds JoAnn Pushkin, Director of Government Relations for Are You Dense Advocacy. “We have similar bills pending in the states of California and New York and grassroot efforts are spreading quickly in many other states. Our work on the Federal level has also been gaining momentum with a federal bill draft imminent,” added Pushkin.
About Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc.
Are You Dense Advocacy™ (www.areyoudenseadvocacy.org) supports Federal legislative efforts and individual states’ legislation through D.E.N.S.E (Density Education National Survivors’ Effort). Our mission is to ensure that women with dense breast tissue have access to an early breast cancer diagnosis. To that end, women need to be informed of their breast density, the limitations of mammography to find cancer in dense breast tissue and the inherent increased risk factor of dense breast tissue.
Are You Dense, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity. IRS Tax ID 26-3643216. All donations are tax deductible as allowed by law.