Women who get mammograms at The Breast Center at Floyd already receive letters informing them of their test results. Because of a new state law, this result letter will now include additional information about breast tissue density.
Margie’s Law took effect July 1, requiring the notification because very dense breast tissue often makes it more difficult to detect possible cancer during a mammogram. The law is named after Margie Singleton, who found out just six months after she had a mammogram that she had stage two breast cancer. Singleton, who is from Savannah, campaigned to get the law passed in Georgia.
“What Margie’s Law does is add an extra layer of notification,” said Aimee Griffin, Director of The Breast Center at Floyd. “The reason why that’s important is because a mammogram is not perfect for women who have very dense breast tissue. It is the single best tool that we have, and it is a very effective tool.”
Griffin said about half of all women have increased breast density. “Generally speaking, your breast density lessens as you get older, but that’s not always the case,” she added. “You can be over the age of 65 and still have dense breast tissue.”
Women with very dense breast tissue can confer with the experienced nurse practitioners at The Breast Center at Floyd about their personal risk and their family history of breast cancer. The experts there can also provide clinical (physical) breast exams and comprehensive risk assessments.
“We need to marry all that information together and make a determination if they would possibly benefit from additional testing,” Griffin said. “We encourage all patients to discuss their results and risk factors with the health care provider who orders their mammogram to make sure they have a good plan in place for annual breast cancer screening.”
An annual mammogram is still the gold standard for detecting breast cancer in all women 40 and over. The combination of an annual mammogram, an annual physical breast exam and monthly breast awareness efforts is very effective for early detection of breast cancer.
Floyd also offers Genius 3D Mammography, which produces three-dimensional views of breast tissue. “3D mammography is very effective for increased breast density, but again, it is not perfect,” Griffin said. “When a patient has multiple increased risk factors, pairing her mammogram with additional monitoring techniques will give the best outcome.”