Letters to the Editor

Women’s health bill

SB6146 and companion bill HB2328 that would protect women from a missed, delayed or late stage breast cancer diagnosis stalled in the Senate and House health care committees by the women chairs.

Sponsors of the bills were told by lobbyists for the doctors that women would be too frightened if they got a sentence in their mammogram letter saying they had heterogeneously dense or very dense breast tissue and should discuss this breast cancer risk factor with their doctor. Forty percent of women have dense breast tissue yet 95 percent of women don’t know if they have dense tissue and what that means. Mammograms miss 50 percent of breast cancers in women with dense tissue. SB6146 (HB2328) would require the facility where your mammogram was performed include information about your breast tissue density in your mammogram letter.

Washington women have a right to know all the results of their mammogram screening so they can have informed discussions with their health care provider. Doctors are not informing women, so give women the information. There were enough votes in the Senate to pass the bill (43 out of 49). Twenty-four states have such laws and 11 states are working on bills. For the past three years a density inform bill has stalled because of politics (a divided legislature). This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it is a breast health issue that affects Republican and Democratic women equally.

Kathy Vielhaber, Bellingham

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