New Texas Breast Cancer Law Will Bring Dense Breast Tissue Out Of The Shadows, Save Lives

DALLAS (October 28, 2011) –Through his many years of working with mesothelioma and asbestos cancer patients, Baron and Budd attorney and former Texas state representative Allen Vaught knows how difficult dealing with a cancer diagnosis can be, especially when patients do not have all the facts. While Vaught was serving in the state legislature, he met Henda Salmeron, a Lakewood resident, who, after years of clean mammograms, found that her dense breast tissue was hiding advanced breast cancer.

According to a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study, women with dense breast tissue are four to six times more likely to develop breast cancer as those with regular breast density. Also, according to the American Medical Association, mammograms can miss up to 40 percent of tumors in women with dense breast tissue.

Salmeron decided to turn outrage into action, and began working with Vaught on a bill later known as Henda’s Law. Under Henda’s Law, Texas women must be informed about dense breast tissue and the possible risk of tumors and other abnormalities that may not be detected with a traditional mammogram. In the case of dense breast tissue, women should consider supplemental screening in addition to a mammogram to find abnormalities in dense breasts.

“The frightening thing is that Henda had no idea what dense breast tissue was until she found out it was hiding her cancer,” said Allen Vaught. “This law is really a testment to Henda –when she found out about this, she was determined to inform other women about the issue so they can make the best decisions about their own health. This is a great example of what can happen when one person, who is committed to change, steps up to help protect the rights of others.”

Though Vaught was not able to see the bill passed, as he was not re-elected in 2010, Salmeron fought to keep the bill alive. Thanks to her, the bill was recently signed into law.

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