Yale researchers compare impact of state notification laws on breast cancer detection rates

Published March 22, 2019

Women with dense breast tissue have a higher risk of breast cancer. But not all women receive the additional screening – beyond a mammogram - needed to detect cancer. Some states mandate that doctors notify women whose mammograms detect dense breast tissue. Some take that a step further and require doctors to suggest extra screening. But until now it hasn’t been clear which works best to increase cancer detection rates.

In a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, Yale University researchers set out to describe the impact of different state requirements on cancer detection rates. Yale is a participant in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Alliance for Health Research (BCBS Alliance), which provides leading researchers the opportunity to explore key questions and topics using BCBS Axis, the industry’s largest resource for healthcare claims, provider and cost data.

The researchers found that in the nine states  where dense breast notification laws require a recommendation that these women follow up for extra screening (such as an ultrasound or MRI), cancer detection rates were modestly higher, compared to states with no law requiring doctors to notify women who have dense breast tissue. Learn more about their findings at Yale News

About the BCBS Alliance
The BCBS Alliance was established in 2016 to engage leading U.S. health care researchers to explore key questions and topics using BCBS Axis data. The researchers involved in this program come together periodically to share insights and discuss critical health and health system issues, helping advance improvements in health care nationwide. Participants in the BCBS Alliance include: Harvard University, Princeton University, Rice University, Scripps Research Translational Institute, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley, University of Chicago, University of Oklahoma and Yale University. 

About the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is a national federation of 36 independent, community-based and locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide health care coverage for one in three Americans. BCBSA provides health care insights through The Health of America Report series and the national BCBS Health Index. For more information on BCBSA and its member companies, please visit bcbs.com. We also encourage you to connect with us on Facebook, check out our videos on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.