Information Articles

New Breast Density Reporting Law in New York State

Rochester, N.Y., July 23, 2012 New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed legislation that requires mammography providers to indicate to patients whether they have dense breast tissue.

Avice O'Connell, M.D.“Dense breast tissue itself doesn’t mean cancer,” said Avice O’Connell, M.D., F.A.C.R., Director of Highland Breast Imaging and the Department of Imaging Services at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC). “But dense tissue does increase the risk of cancer slightly, and it makes cancer hard to detect with a mammogram alone.”

Currently, radiologists send patients a report that states their results – positive or negative – following their annual mammogram.

According to the Governor’s office, the new law will require providers to include a summary in the mammography report if dense tissue is found. The summary will include information about what it means to have dense tissue and direct patients to talk to their doctors.

Dr. O’Connell says about 50 percent of patients will receive notification that they have dense breasts, but keep in mind:


  • There are varying degrees of density, and dense tissue itself does not indicate cancer.
  • Women should talk with their physician to discuss the mammogram report, their personal risk and whether more screenings should be done.
  • Based on your risk, your provider may suggest a screening ultrasound.
  • Talk with your insurance company to find out if screening ultrasounds are covered.


The law goes into effect in January.



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