FDA: Mammography facilities must notify patients about breast density

A new policy from the FDA requires mammography facilities to inform patients about their breast density in addition to their results.

Doing so will "strengthen the FDA's oversight and enforcement of facilities and help [the] interpreting physicians [to] better categorize and assess mammograms," according to a March 9 news release. 

Rates of breast cancer in the U.S. have gone up in recent years, according to CDC data, and it remains the second leading cancer found in women.

The new requirement will also provide important information to patients about their own breast density, something that can play a role in making cancers more difficult to detect with a mammogram. Dense breast tissue is something 50 percent of women over the age of 40 have, according to the agency, so it is something that could affect care outcomes for certain patients. 

"This is intended to help ensure important information that could affect decisions about patient care, such as the potential need for further evaluation or a repeat mammogram, is communicated as completely as possible," the press release states. 

Facilities must implement the new requirements within the next 18 months to be in compliance.

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