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Physicians Unaware of Breast Density Laws, Cancer Risk

Half of physicians unaware of increased breast cancer risk among women with dense breasts

WEDNESDAY, June 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Physicians need more education about breast density and breast cancer screening, according to a study recently published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Jordonna Brown, M.B.B.S., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues surveyed local physicians (primary care providers [PCPs], radiologists, and gynecologists) regarding knowledge, attitudes, and practices for screening women with dense breasts.

There were 155 respondents, including 75 percent female physicians, 77 percent attending-level physicians, 42 percent PCPs, 28 percent radiologists, 17 percent gynecologists, and 9 percent other providers. The researchers found that nearly half (48 percent) reported being unaware of breast density laws, while two-thirds (67 percent) felt they needed more education about breast density and supplemental screening. Sixty-two percent of respondents were unaware of the increased risk for breast cancer associated with dense breasts. PCPs were less aware of both their individual state’s breast density laws (odds ratio [OR], 0.21) and the increased breast cancer risk for women with dense breasts (OR, 0.23) compared with specialists.

“Breast density laws have not translated into greater knowledge of breast density and recommendations for supplemental screening among PCPs,” the authors write.

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