Thursday, January 19, 2023

DENSE BREAST NEWS: 2023


Video News Release: Innovations in Early Detection

"Are You Dense?" Foundation Co-founder Joe Cappello joins the medical diagnostic community to promote the "Get Checked Now!" campaign. Dr. Robert Bard from the Bard Cancer Center (NYC) supports supplemental imaging including the 3D Doppler Ultrasound scanner to offer dense breast detection.  This video presents some of the latest advancements in ultrasound features to detect tumors through dense breast tissue- reportedly a significant challenge with mammograms. 

1/19-2023- The ARE YOU DENSE ADVOCACY committee continued to pursue the public importance of patients receiving their own personal medical information about the condition of their breast health.  This initiative directs the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that mammography reports and summaries received by patients and their providers include appropriate information about breast density specified by the Secretary.  This also includes at a minimum, the effect of breast density in masking the presence of breast cancer on a mammogram. The qualitative assessment of the provider who interpreted the mammogram, and a reminder to patients that individuals with dense breast tissue should talk with their providers if they have any questions or concerns about their summary. From a prior report (3/28/2019) the Department of Health and Human Services and the FDA announced changes to the MQSA (Mammography Quality Standards Act) to include reporting of dense breast tissue to the patient- by and large, thanks to the Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. [1]



Joe Cappello / Are You Dense? Foundation
According to a 12/13/2022 press release,  Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and award-winning journalist Katie Couric introduced their legislation, the Find It Early Act. This bill would ensure all health insurance plans cover screening and diagnostic mammograms and breast ultrasounds and MRIs with no cost-sharing.  “It means a great deal to me to join Katie Couric, Congressman Fitzpatrick, and all of the breast cancer advocates here to talk about what we must do to detect breast cancer early and save women’s lives,” said Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro. “As we all know, when it comes to surviving cancer, early detection is key – as 99 percent of women who receive an early diagnosis survive it. That is why today I am introducing the Find It Early Act, which would mandate all insurance providers to cover additional screenings including diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and breast MRIs, with no cost-sharing.” “At DenseBreast-info we hear from women all the time who find out they have dense breasts and that they would benefit from additional screening, but then discover they have to navigate getting approvals from their insurance providers - and begina frustrating cycle of phone calls, denials, appeals and more phone calls,” said JoAnn Pushkin, Executive Director of DenseBreast-info, Inc. “The Find it Early Act will help ensure that when a woman is told that her mammogram might not be enough – she will not have to struggle to pay for additional imaging, orchoose between household bills and a recommended test, or spread the cost of an MRI over one year, and skip the next year because the cost of the exam has strained her budget.”
“It is my pleasure to give a voice on behalf of many hundreds of dense breast cancer patients who have become advocates across this country to say THANK YOU Congresswoman DeLauro,” said Joseph J. Cappello, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. “We thank you for taking the initiative as a leader in our 18-year battle, by demanding the FDA take action on the new MQSA rule by the end of this month. Your leadership will save many hundreds of lives across the nation.” [4]

WHAT'S NEW AT THE MQSA (NATIONAL STATISTICS)

Welcome to MQSA Insights. These pages provide information pertaining to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Mammography Quality Standards Act’s (MQSA) program. Our ultimate goal is to help facilities improve the quality of mammography by allowing them to see how facilities as an aggregate are doing across the nation as well as through exploring specific mammography topics. Such information is designed to:

  • inform the public on how mammography facilities are doing overall complying with MQSA standards
  • highlight other important MQSA statistics and trends
  • allow facilities to compare how they are performing to the performance of facilities as a whole [2]

SEE the latest MQSA Insights presenting the most commonly requested national statistics regarding the MQSA program. These statistics are updated on the first of each month. (LINK)







REPRISE: DR BARD IS CALLED AS MEDICAL EXPERT IN 'SPOTLIGHT ON AMERICA" FEATURE ON DENSE BREAST RESEARCH REPORT

Courtesy: "Are You Dense?" Foundation
Updated from a video feature originally launched on 10/14/2022, Spotlight on America (TND) presented an ongoing report: "A SHOCKING DIAGNOSIS". Suzanne McDonald was 48 years old when she got a routine mammogram in 2007. Like so many women, she received a letter telling her the X-ray was clear, and she breathed a sigh of relief. McDonald threw her letter in the garbage, trusting that it told her all she needed to know. She’d later find out that the mammogram had missed what was happening in her body: late-stage 3C cancer, which had been concealed by extremely dense breast tissue, which McDonald had never heard of.  

The image of a tumor in a dense breast (R) is like a polar bear in a snowstorm,” Dr. Robert Bard, a leading radiologist, told us. “It’s white against white, you can’t see it. So we’ve been missing tumors all the time.”   Bard, the founder of the Bard Cancer Center, told us the lack of contrast in those crucial images means millions of women could miss their best chance at early detection. “Women with dense breasts are 5 to 7 times more likely to develop a breast tumor,” said Dr. Bard. “So given that you’re already at increased risk by having a high breast density, this is cause for making sure you get screened.”

Special thanks to TND/ Andrea Nejman | National Investigative Producer & Spotlight on America, Inside Your World Investigates


HANDY PATIENT GUIDE TO SCREENING OPTIONS FOR DENSE BREASTS
This patient-friendly guide outlines the benefits and harms of screening options for dense breasts. The two-page guide is based on current scientific and medical research on technology and dense breast tissue. The guide illustrates the approximate cancer detection rate for each exam. Bring this guide with you as you discuss your screening options with your health-care providers based on your risk, dense tissue and preferences.  Keep in mind that all studies have limitations. The chart can be printed one page, back to back.  (Special thanks to Julie S. Gershon, MD for her expert review). Download Chart in PDF here. [3]

















RESOURCES

1) https://www.areyoudenseadvocacy.org/news/map-all-pink
2) https://www.fda.gov/radiation-emitting-products/mammography-quality-standards-act-and-program/mqsa-insights
3) https://www.areyoudenseadvocacy.org/resources/handy-patient-guide-screening-options-dense-breasts
4) https://delauro.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/delauro-fitzpatrick-katie-couric-introduce-find-it-early-act-2022



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