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Gov. Nixon Signs Bill to Help Improve Breast Cancer Detection by Providing Women with Information About Dense Breast Tissue

Press Release

Location: Joplin, MO

Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Freeman Hospital West in Joplin to sign Senate Bill 639, which will help improve breast cancer detection by requiring mammography facilities to provide patients with information about dense breast tissue. Mammography facilities will be required to inform patients that, because dense breast tissue can hide abnormalities that would otherwise be identified in mammograms, women with dense breasts may benefit from additional screening to accurately detect breast cancer.

"This law is a common-sense measure with the potential to save lives by giving women more information and greater opportunities to identify breast cancer in the early stages of the disease," Gov. Nixon said. "I want to thank the bill's sponsors, Sen. Dan Brown and Rep. Sue Allen, as well as Sen. Ron Richard, Patty Richard and Kathy Brown for their efforts to raise awareness about this issue and get this bill to my desk."

According to the National Institutes of Health, women who have a high percentage of dense breast tissue are a greater risk of developing breast cancer. In addition, abnormalities in dense breasts are more difficult to detect on a mammogram. Senate Bill 639 will require mammography facilities to provide notice to patients that if the mammogram demonstrates they have dense breast tissue, which could hide abnormalities, and the patient has other identified risk factors for breast cancer, the patient might benefit from supplemental screening tests.

"After watching a close friend battle breast cancer, it was clear to me that women weren't getting enough information about the risks of dense breast tissue," Patty Richard said. "The concept of this legislation is simple: make sure women get the information they need to give them a better chance of detecting and beating this devastating disease."

"As a breast cancer survivor whose cancer was not detected by a mammogram, I want to make sure all women get the information they need about the risks of dense breast tissue," Kathy Brown said. "On behalf of the thousands of women battling this terrible disease, I want to thank my husband and his colleagues in the legislature for getting this bill across the finish line, and the Governor for signing it into law today."

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