Breast-density law official

Physicians must inform women if dense breast tissue is identified

A new state law went into effect on April 1 that requires physicians to notify women receiving mammograms if they identify dense breast tissue, which has been linked to a higher risk of breast cancer.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 1538 into law in September of last year, making California the fifth state in the nation to require breast-density notifications, according to KQED. Federal law already requires health-care providers to report mammogram screening results to patients in writing; in California, those notes will now require an extra paragraph if dense breast tissue is identified. The law is intended to encourage women to discuss possible courses of action with their physician.

Some claim the law will create unnecessary anxiety for women as they wait for their test results by mail.