'Cancer screening' bill passes first hurdle

"Cancer screening" bill passes first...

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) - Breast cancer survivors testified on Capitol Hill Monday in support of House Bill 258. The measure would require doctors to inform women if dense breast tissue comes up in the results of their mammogram. Survivors say the result can be cancer that doesn't always show up in the scans.

Rep. LaVar Christensen is the bill's sponsor.  He said the point is to keep patients informed so they know the risks and other options for scans. He notes about half of all scans show dense breast tissue which could be something a woman needs to keep an eye on.

Debra DeKoff is a cancer survivor who spoke in favor of the bill. She notes many women don't know that dense breast tissue on a mammogram can present issues.

"How could they know that dense breasts tissue hides cancer on a mammogram," said DeKoff. "That those of us with dense breasts are more likely to have cancer even if no other family member has had cancer."

Several women who spoke in favor of the bill noted they too had scans with dense tissue. Some said it was seen for years, but they were never told by doctors.

Thirty-one other states already have similar requirements to tell a patient if dense tissue is spotted. Rep. Christensen said he wants to have the same rules.

The bill passed unanimously through the committee, but some lawmakers did voice concern over possible unintended consequences.

Some worry it could create more malpractice lawsuits for doctors, while others said the law wouldn't have any penalty for those who don't follow it.

Representatives from the Huntsman Cancer Institute were on hand to voice their support for the measure.

The bill will now move to the House floor for a vote, but would still have to go through the Senate before it has a chance to pass.

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