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Letters Telling Women About Breast Density Are Often Too Darn Dense

Over the past decade, states have passed laws intended to help women understand the results of their breast cancer screening mammograms if they have dense breasts. But those notifications can be downright confusing and may, in fact, cause more misunderstanding than understanding.

A study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, finds the wording of some notifications so complex that only a Ph.D. could understand them. This lack of simple, direct information could lead to greater health disparities in diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, since having dense breasts makes it a bit more likely that a woman will have breast cancer and also that cancer could be missed on a mammogram.