Breast Density Notification: A Systematic Review of the Impact on Primary Care Practitioners

It is largely unknown what impact notifying women of their breast density (BD) has had on clinical practice for primary care providers (PCPs). This systematic review aimed to synthesize evidence from existing studies to understand the impact of BD notification on PCPs knowledge, attitudes, and practice implications. Six studies were included, all conducted in the United States. Findings consistently demonstrated PCPs’ overall lack of knowledge about BD, low level of comfort in discussing and managing patients in relation to dense breasts, and limited consensus on the most appropriate approach for managing women with dense breasts, particularly in relation to supplemental screening. Although PCPs in states where BD legislation had been enacted the longest seemed to indicate greater awareness of BD, there was still limited knowledge of breast cancer risk. These findings suggest the need for high-quality research to assess the impact of BD notification on PCPs and how best to discuss the implications of having dense breasts with women.

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