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Legislator's wife proposes bill on breast cancer warnings - KOAM TV 7

Legislator's wife proposes bill on breast cancer warnings and awareness

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Breast Cancer affects 1 in 8 women. The most popular form of detection - a mammogram - may not be enough for women with denser breast. That's why one local legislator's wife is heading to Jefferson City to make a change.

Patty Richard, wife of Senator Ron Richard of Missouri proposed a bill in Jefferson city that would require radiologists to note a woman's breast density in their post-mammogram report.

"Right now most women don't know anything about dense breast. 40% of women do have dense breasts." Richard says.

For women with denser breasts, a normal mammogram has a harder time seeing potential tumors. Having dense tissue is not dangerous...but when screened by a radiologist, the tissue comes up as white...just as breast cancer cells do.

"95% of women don't know that they have it. And what we want is to turn that number around and have 95 percent of women know that they have it." she says.

Beth Peacock of Joplin, has been a breast cancer survivor for four years. Breast density runs in her family, and says when it comes to the disease, all precautions need to be taken.

"Women need to be told that they have dense breasts and they have to be told that it's harder to find something in that." Peacock says. 

"Some women want to get complacent thinking if they feel something, then it's just the density or its another filled milk sac or thinking nothing of it, but it could be something, and we have to be diligent on ourselves." she continues.

The bill would not require any action from a doctor, or change the way a mammogram is performed. Instead, the information about dense breasts would be found at the bottom of the report, along with any further information - including follow ups or additional screenings due to breast density.

Richard's will be back in Jefferson City this week hearing additional legislation on breast density. 14 other states have already passed legislation requiring radiologists to take note of a woman's breast density during a mammogram.

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