MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the first time in more than 20 years, the FDA is updating regulations for the nation’s mammography centers. The new rules will give patients more information following breast cancer screenings. The goal is to further reduce mortality.

Last year more than 260,000 women learned they had breast cancer. And in 2018 alone, the disease claimed 41,000 lives. To further increase early detection and save lives, the FDA will amend regulations under the 1997 Mammography Quality Standards Act.

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Dr. Trudi Parker, a radiologist with Allina’s, Piper Breast Center, supports new FDA regulations, requiring that patients be informed if their breast tissue is fatty or dense.

“Fat is black on a mammogram, and you can see it’s very easy to pick up breast cancer in a background of fat,” Parker said.

Three-dimensional mammography screening detects malignancies in dense breast tissue more accurately. So the FDA will require providers to share density information on a patients screening report.

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“It will allow patients to have access to good clinical information regarding breast density,” Parker said.

Talking with doctors about cancer risk and treatment can be difficult and confusing. It’s hoped the new rules will make that conversation both clearer and easier.

In Minnesota, density information has been required of providers since 2009. All other states will now have to comply with the same patient notification.

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Talking with doctors about a patient’s relative risk from breast cancer and subsequent treatment can be difficult. So it is hoped that with the new rules, that becomes easier – helping to improve both conversation and treatment.