- Women could have a way to detect breast cancer earlier if a newly proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule passes.
- The proposed rule would require healthcare providers to give women information about their breast density following mammograms, Associated Press reported.
- Currently, doctors are not required to share breast density reports with patients, even though high breast density can make it more difficult to detect breast cancer.
Women could have a way to detect breast cancer earlier if a newly proposed Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rule passes.
The proposed rule would require healthcare providers to give women information about their breast density following mammograms, the Associated Press reported. The rule would be mandated under federal law, according to FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, and would be the first update to mammogram procedures in over 20 years.
Currently, women who get mammograms – X-rays that screen breast tissue to check for abnormalities that could signal breast cancer – receive an easy-to-read report from their mammography center following the exam. That report doesn’t have to include information about breast density, even though doctors receive relevant data after every mammogram.
But higher breast density can make it harder to detect breast cancer since dense tissue can hide abnormal lumps that indicate the disease. Only some states require a breast density report be given to patients, but the FDA wants all women to have this information so they can better control their health, according to Gottlieb.
According to the FDA, breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women. Women are recommended to get routine mammograms starting at age 40 and return every one to two years, according to the Mayo Clinic.
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If the new law is passed, the FDA could contact patients directly if the organisation believes a healthcare provider isn’t disclosing the mandated information, and it could could sanction mammography providers if they don’t properly track the data. The proposal doesn’t include suggestions for next steps if a woman finds out she has a high breast density.
The proposed FDA rule will be open to public comment for the next three months. It will then enter a proposal stage that can take months or even years to finalise, according to AP.
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