Breast Density Notification LawThe Encino Breast Care Center to Work with referring physicians and the San Fernando Valley Community to explain the law’s impact.

The Encino Breast Care Center, a facility operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of RadNet, Inc., a national leader in providing high-quality, cost-effective diagnostic imaging services through a network of owned and operated outpatient imaging centers, announced the importance of educating referring physicians and women about the California Breast Density Notification Law that will take effect on April 1, 2013. The law requires doctors to inform women, classified as having dense breast tissue on a screening mammogram, that dense breast tissue may make it more difficult to detect potentially cancerous lesions in their screening mammography imaging study.

California will join Connecticut, New York, Texas and Virginia with a breast density notification law. Radiologists classify breast density into one of four types using the BI-RADS (American College of Radiology Breast Imaging Reporting and Data System) scoring methodology.

  • Fatty (10 percent of women)
  • Scattered fibroglandular densities (40 percent of women)
  • Heterogeneously dense (40 percent of women)
  • Extremely dense (10 percent of women)

“A woman’s breast density is largely inherited but may vary over time due to age, hormones, diet or selective estrogen receptor modulators (e.g. tamoxifen),” said Encino Breast Care Center Medical Director of Breast Imaging James Maxwell, M.D. “Depending on the specific nature of a women’s case, additional breast imaging may be recommended. However, as the topic of breast density remains controversial, it’s important for women to speak with their doctors to ensure they receive care appropriate for them.”

Patients classified with either heterogeneously or extremely dense breast tissue will receive a letter with the following lay summary:

Your mammogram shows that your breast tissue is dense. Dense breast tissue is common and is not abnormal. However, dense breast tissue can make it harder to evaluate the results of your mammogram and may also be associated with an increased risk of breast cancer.

This information about the results of your mammogram is given to you to raise your awareness and to inform your conversations with your doctor. Together, you can decide which screening options are right for you. A report of your results was sent to your physician.

“The Encino Breast Care Center has the experience and knowledge, we completed more than 14,000 screening mammograms in 2012, to educate the San Fernando Valley community about this new law,” noted Dr. Maxwell. “We provide breast MRI, an additional screening tool.”

A review of the radiology literature shows that breast MRI is an extremely sensitive (success rate) imaging modality in the detection of breast cancer tumor(s). Breast MRI has the highest sensitivity of all imaging modalities. However, breast MRI has a lower specificity (proportion of false positives) and may create false positives that will cause some women to undergo biopsies with benign results.

Breast MRI studies entail additional time, cost and worry and may not be covered by insurance. It is important for referring physicians and patients to check insurance plans for coverage of additional studies. Physicians must weigh the risks and benefits for each patient’s specific situation to determine the best option.

About The Encino Breast Care Center
The Encino Breast Care Center has more than 20 years of experience providing women with optimal breast care. The center offers women in the San Fernando Valley advanced breast imaging services including diagnostic and screening digital mammography; ultrasound (breast and general); bone densitometry (DEXA); and the following interventional breast procedures: stereotactic, ultrasound guided and punch biopsies, ductograms, fine needle and cyst aspirations. Breast MRI, including MRI guided biopsies, are available nearby at San Fernando Interventional Radiology.

All radiologists at The Encino Breast Care Center have a specialty fellowship in breast imaging and exclusively interpret these tests. This enhances their ability to accurately interpret imaging studies. They are board-certified by the American Board of Radiology.

The center is a facility operated by a wholly-owned subsidiary of RadNet, Inc., which manages a network of outpatient imaging centers. The center is located at 5363 Balboa Blvd., Suite 100 in Encino.