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Starting in January, a new state law will require doctors to tell patients, after mammograms, if they have dense breast tissue and warn women of the implications. For years, mammogram reports have contained information on breast density, but often in language that patients might not understand, and not all patients had access to the official reports.

The new law requires that information be put in lay terms and given to patients. The law also will require women be directed to doctors who focus on breast imaging, rather than primary care or other doctors, for more information. The law comes after years of advocacy from patients, some of whom say their cancers were missed because of their dense breast tissue. Had they known that dense breast tissue could make it difficult for mammograms to detect cancer, they would have gotten more testing and could have potentially started battling their diseases earlier, advocates say.

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