Shining a Brighter Light on Mammograms

If you don't succeed, try, try again.

That's what State Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) must be saying to himself these days with his SB 1538, a bill that would require physicians to notify women when mammograms determine the presence of dense breast tissue which can mask the existence of cancer.

Simitian authored similar legislation last year, only to see Gov. Jerry Brown veto the bill because it seemed too prescriptive rather than informational.

Duh, why does it have to be one or the other? 

Apparently the California Medical Association thinks there's a difference, because Brown vetoed the bill after the CMA complained that dense tissue alone doesn't suggest a relationship with breast cancer.

To which one might ask, doesn't it make sense to find out?

What harm can there be in making someone aware of a possible life-threatening disease? It almost sounds criminal to withhold such information. 

Simitian's bill is straightforward common sense. It gives a woman the knowledge about her body to pursue additional tests.

Moreover, he reports, a similar law in Connecticut has resulted in doubling the rate of early breast cancer detection.

The best medicine is preventive medicine.

In matters that can't be prevented, the next-best medicine lies in the ability to diagnose a problem early before it grows in scope.

That's what the Simitian bill is all about--giving a woman the opportunity to find out about breast cancer sooner rather than later.

As for the CMA, it's rather sad that an organization of people dedicated to health would be so opposed to a bill designed to insure health. Hopefully, the CMA will rethink its opposition this time around. And that prescription goes for the governor, too.

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