Letters to the Editor

Wants access to early cancer information

A bill that would protect women from missed, delayed and late stage breast cancer diagnosis stalled in the Washington Senate. SB5040 would require the facility where your mammogram was performed include five sentences in your mammogram letter if you have dense tissue: “Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense tissue is common but can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram. Adult women of all ages are encouraged to perform a monthly breast self-exam. This information about your mammogram results is given to you to raise your awareness and to inform your conversations with your primary care provider. A report of your results was sent to your primary care provider.”

Forty percent of women have dense tissue, one of the strongest risk factors associated with breast cancer, yet 95 percent of women are unaware. Women with dense tissue have less than a 50 percent chance of having their cancer detected by mammography alone.

I believe Washington women have a right to know their screening results so they can have informed discussions about their breast health. Twenty-one states have breast density notification laws. Washington shouldn’t be the last state giving women equal access to an early breast cancer diagnosis when cancers have better treatment and survival outcomes. Write/call the bill’s sponsor, Sen. O’Ban, and the Chair of the Health Care Committee, Sen. Becker. Tell them to read SB5040 and pass it.

Kathleen Vielhaber

Bellingham

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