COLUMN: New Laws Created to Improve Breast Cancer Screenings, DNA Databank, Organ Donation

— I wanted to take some time to update you on a few new health-related laws that passed during session and were recently signed into law by the Governor. I was pleased to support all of these in the Legislature during session that will work toward better breast cancer detection, fighting crime and improving New York's organ donation rates.

In late July, the Governor signed legislation to help improve breast cancer detection and prevention. The new law requires those providing mammograms to inform patients if they have dense breast tissue, to explain what this means to patients and to check with their doctor for possible additional screenings. Some studies show that cancer is more likely in women who have dense breast tissue and the mammogram of a woman with dense breast tissue is often harder to interpret. According to one study, 71 percent of all breast cancers occur in women with dense breast tissue.

A similar law passed in Connecticut in 2009 and reports there indicate that, with a follow-up ultrasound, nearly double the amount of cancers were found after further screening. While many health practitioners have begun to provide additional screenings for women with dense breast tissue, this law will ensure that this type of follow up will continue to detect tumors, hopefully in their early, more treatable forms. Many cancerous tumors were going undiagnosed in cases where women had a mammogram but also had dense breast tissue. Technology and research has advanced to develop better tools to detect cancer so our laws should follow suit. I was happy to support this in the Assembly.

Landmark DNA database expansion officially became law earlier this month. This law requires DNA samples to be collected from anyone convicted of any felony or penal law misdemeanor. It is the first of its type in the nation. This will greatly assist law enforcement. Violent criminals do not specialize in one kind of crime and are often convicted of lesser crimes before committing other, more serious, offenses. By collecting DNA samples from anyone convicted of a felony or penal misdemeanor, we can protect our families and communities.

Vote on this Story by clicking on the Icon


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment