New law could affect your annual mammogram - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

New law could affect your annual mammogram


Your annual mammogram could a new piece of information that might lead to more tests. A new Indiana law requires facilities performing mammograms to notify women if their mammogram shows dense breast tissue.

Dr. Laura Morris, Breast Surgical Oncologist at IU Health Goshen says dense breast tissue is very common, but it does make it harder to locate cancer on a mammogram.

This new law requires radiologist to inform a woman and her doctor of dense tissue in the medical report after a mammogram.  That patient can then ask to have additional tests performed and insurance is required to cover it. "The other tests, breast ultrasound and MRI's, they can detect breast cancers a little bit more, but they also increase the chance of getting unnecessary biopsy or biopsy that turns out to not be cancer," says Dr. Morris.

Dr. Morris says ultrasounds and MRI's will pick up on many extra abnormalities and 80% of the time when a biopsy is performed, they find no cancer. "We're going to find a lot of things and women are going to start needing a lot more biopsy and we will find the occasional cancer yes, we're not arguing that, but it's going to be a huge increase in cost and anxiety."

She says more women will see on their reports that they have dense breast tissue and that could cause them to panic. "That's scary, plus the procedure itself and then to find out you don't have cancer."

Some experts think more information is never bad for the patient. To hear more tune into FOX28 tonight on 10!

With additional testing, Dr. Morris says at The Retreat Women's Health Center they will see an increase in business and she expects this law will drive up the cost of health care. "When you talk about where is the best place to spend money, it's not necessarily on any woman who has dense breast tissue getting all these tests." She says the cost of a mammogram is around $250. A breast ultrasound costs about $700 and an MRI is $1,000. She says a biopsy procedure can cost five grand. All major costs to find out you don't have cancer, says Dr. Morris.

Her suggestion? If you find you have dense breast tissue, talk with your physician about your risks for breast cancer. Depending on your family and personal history, you may or may not decide the additional tests are for you.

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