Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/124000
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Type: Journal article
Title: Breast density notification: an Australian perspective
Author: Ingman, W.V.
Richards, B.
Street, J.M.
Carter, D.
Rickard, M.
Stone, J.
Dasari, P.
Citation: Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2020; 9(3):681-1-681-8
Publisher: MDPI AG
Issue Date: 2020
ISSN: 2077-0383
2077-0383
Statement of
Responsibility: 
Wendy V. Ingman, Bernadette Richards, Jacqueline M. Street, Drew Carter, Mary Rickard, Jennifer Stone, and Pallave Dasari
Abstract: Breast density, also known as mammographic density, refers to white and bright regions on a mammogram. Breast density can only be assessed by mammogram and is not related to how breasts look or feel. Therefore, women will only know their breast density if they are notified by the radiologist when they have a mammogram. Breast density affects a woman’s breast cancer risk and the sensitivity of a screening mammogram to detect cancer. Currently, the position of BreastScreen Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists is to not notify women if they have dense breasts. However, patient advocacy organisations are lobbying for policy change. Whether or not to notify women of their breast density is a complex issue and can be framed within the context of both public health ethics and clinical ethics. Central ethical themes associated with breast density notification are equitable care, patient autonomy in decision-making, trust in health professionals, duty of care by the physician, and uncertainties around evidence relating to measurement and clinical management pathways for women with dense breasts. Legal guidance on this issue must be gained from broad legal principles found in the law of negligence and the test of materiality. We conclude a rigid legal framework for breast density notification in Australia would not be appropriate. Instead, a policy framework should be developed through engagement with all stakeholders to understand and take account of multiple perspectives and the values at stake.
Keywords: Breast density; mammographic density; mammogram; breast cancer screening; clinical ethics; health policy; duty of care
Rights: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
RMID: 1000016894
DOI: 10.3390/jcm9030681
Published version: http://www.mdpi.com/journal/jcm
Appears in Collections:Law publications

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