Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal signed the state’s breast density reporting bill (HB 186) into law this past summer. The bill, known as the Monica Landry Helo Early Detection Act, becomes effective on January 1, 2016.
Under the new law, patients in the state will always be sent their mammogram records along with detailed reports, even if no evidence that specifically points to breast cancer is present. Information about breast density, in the form of a notice, will be included with each report.
The notice will read:
“If your mammogram demonstrates that you have dense breast tissue, which could hide abnormalities, and you have other risk factors for breast cancer that have been identified, you might benefit from supplemental screening tests that may be suggested by your ordering physician. Dense breast tissue, in and of itself, is a relatively common condition. Therefore, this information is not provided to cause undue concern, but rather to raise your awareness and to promote discussion with your physician regarding the presence of other risk factors, in addition to dense breast tissue. A summary of your mammography results will be sent to you, and a full mammography report will be sent to your physician and also to you. You should contact your physician if you have any questions or concerns regarding your summary or report of results.”
Louisiana is now the 24th state to enact such a law, joining Delaware, North Dakota, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Minnesota, Arizona, New Jersey, Tennessee, Hawaii, Maryland, Alabama, Nevada, Oregon, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, California, New York, Texas and Connecticut.
The bill’s namesake, Monica Landry Helo, brought the bill to the attention of Rep. Jack Montoucet (D-La.) after being diagnosed with an advanced cancer diagnosis in 2013. She later learned that information about her breast health was contained in the results of a mammogram she had in 2009, but that information was not shared with her at the time.