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The Utah Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that would encourage medical providers to inform patients of the presence of dense breast tissue and recommend extra screenings to detect possible cancer growth.

Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, introduced SB32 this week on the Senate floor and appeared to have total support as lawmaker after lawmaker delivered sometimes-emotional testimony about knowing people diagnosed with breast cancer.

"This will save thousands of lives," Mayne said.

Sen. Peter Knudson, R-Brigham City, called it an important bill because it continues a push toward early detection of cancer.

"I'll never forget these words — I have cancer," he said. "That changes an individual instantly. It changes a family instantly."

The bill was modified to not require medical providers to notify patients but instead only encouraged them to give the information to those screened during mammography.

But Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Eagle Mountain, said even though both his mother and mother-in-law were victims of breast cancer, he was concerned about putting into statute something that didn't mandate action by health-care providers but instead only encouraged direction.

"I think we should encourage people to do the right thing, but I wonder if the code is the appropriate place for placing suggestions of what we should do," Madsen said. "If we take this path, the code will simply explode."

Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, suggested a resolution might have been a better approach in explaining his vote against the measure.

The bill would amend the Utah Health Code to encourage health-care facilities to offer options for additional screenings once dense breast tissue is detected in a mammogram.

It passed 22-5 and goes to the House.

Twitter: @davemontero

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