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State Government News

Patty’s Law Approved to Combat Breast Cancer

Joyce Russell/IPR
Breast cancer survivors at bill-signing

Breast cancer survivors and their supporters were at the capitol Thursday for a bill-signing of legislation known as Patty’s Law, named for a West Des Moines cancer patient.  

I wish I had known what I know now. -Patty Bernard

The new law directs mammogram providers to let a woman know if she has dense breast tissue, so she can get an ultrasound in addition to a mammogram.  

Advocates say dense tissue can prevent tumors from showing up.      

Fifty-nine year old Patty Bernard is suffering from stage four breast cancer.

“I wish I had known then what I know now,” Bernard said.  “I did not know I had dense breasts, and I did not know that mammograms may not detect breast cancer.”

Credit Joyce Russell/IPR
Patty Bernard

Bernard believes an ultrasound could have detected her cancer before it advanced.  

She advises all women to seek out the information.

“Find out if you have dense breasts,” Bernard said.  

A group who called themselves "The Iowa Army of Pink" had lobbied for the bill for the past five years.  

Women in pink, some in tears, crowded around the governor’s formal desk as he signed the bill, printed on pink paper.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed among females in Iowa,” Branstad said.   “More Iowans knowing their own potential risk of breast cancer will save lives.”