For the first time in more than 20 years, the Food and Drug Administration wants to change how it regulates mammography, the x-ray technology that helps countless women detect breast cancer early.
It’s the most common cancer among women and the second leading cause of cancer death.
A mammogram can be key to early detection — now the FDA wants to improve and modernize the screening process.
This includes providing patients with information about breast density.
More than half of women over 40 have dense breast tissue, according to the FDA.
A known risk factor for breast cancer, dense tissue can make the results of a traditional mammogram harder to read and interpret.
Advances in 3D digital screening are helping doctors and patients spot abnormalities hidden by dense tissue.
The FDA also hopes to improve communication with patients, by expanding the categories used to classify mammogram results.
The FDA hopes these proposed changes will allow screening facilities to “more precisely classify“ findings and help patients and providers make more informed decisions about their care.
The FDA’s proposal also strengthens the agency’s power to step in when mammography facilities don’t follow regulations.
The proposal will be subject to changes following a 90-day public comment period.