What has been a law in Connecticut since 2009, has now finally become federal legislation! Every woman in the United States who has a mammogram will be notified of her breast density, enabling her to be proactive in obtaining additional imaging to evaluate her breast tissue. Dr. Nancy Cappello spearheaded the breast density notification laws, beginning with her home state, Connecticut, after she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer following a breast ultrasound. Nancy tirelessly worked with state legislatures, government officials, and patient advocates to pass dense breast notification laws in states across the U.S. Nancy passed away from complications of her breast cancer treatments in 2018. It was her dream that a federal bill be passed requiring notification of breast density for every woman in every state. It gives me great joy to see Nancy’s tireless efforts and perseverance, as well as those of many other breast cancer patients across the U.S., culminate in the new FDA reporting legislation. Notification is the start, but in the end, education will be needed to help women make appropriate decisions regarding additional imaging needed for the evaluation of breast density. In Connecticut we are familiar with the challenges which lay ahead, yet we have seen the benefits of increasing early detection in order to save lives. In the words of Leslie Yerger, CEO of My Density Matters, “I envision Nancy smiling down from heaven now after seeing what has come to pass.”
Julie S. Gershon, M.D.