Pa. legislation focusing on breast cancer awareness won’t help, doctors say

    October is designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Pennsylvania’s lawmakers are trying to help with legislation in both chambers.

    Some health care professionals, however, are saying it isn’t necessary.

    The marquee breast cancer awareness bill would require that women who undergo mammograms be notified if they have dense breasts.

    There’s just one problem; doctors say it would not be at all helpful.

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    Most women have dense breasts, at least 50 to 70 percent, said Dr. Sherry Blumenthal, chair of the local chapter of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

    She said she can only imagine what they’ll think when they receive a notice from radiology of that fact.

    “What does this mean? Does this mean I have breast cancer?” Blumenthal said. “So it creates a significant problem that can only be handled by her physician.”

    Her group is asking lawmakers to amend the bill to require that any density notification comes with more information.

    Blumenthal is resigned to the reality that the bill will pass as a “crowdpleaser,” she said. But she said it illustrates the tension between the medical profession, and the state lawmakers who try to regulate it over the heads of the state’s Health Department.

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