New law requires mammography facilities to inform patients of their breast density

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Janel Winberg was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer in February. Two months later she had a double mastectomy and began chemotherapy treatments.

She has a history of cancer in her family but never expected to be diagnosed at only 44-years-old.

"I have the positive gene I have to have a whole hysterectomy because I [also] have the possibility of ovarian and tubular cancer as well," said Winberg, breast cancer patient.

Nebraska just passed Cheri's Law (LB 159) which requires all facilities that perform mammograms to provide information on individual patient's breast tissue. If a person has very dense tissue the facility must send a notice to the patient encouraging them to talk to their doctor.

Winberg said she was never told what kind of tissue she had.

"I do know that if that was something somebody would have told me that because of my positive family history I would have taken the extra steps to talk to my doctor," she said.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) dense breast tissue is not irregular and occurs in 40% of women. But, this puts women at a greater risk of developing breast cancer because it's harder to detect during a mammogram.

This [law] opens up a lot of new information for patients so they're aware of what type they have and the importance of getting in to do regular mammograms," said Michaela Spurling, Lead Coordinator of Mammography, CHI Health's St. Elizabeth.

Winberg has three chemo treatments left and although her body is tired her family has been her rock.

"Friends and family are the most important that have gotten me through," said Winberg.

She has three treatments of chemo left and then her hysterectomy, after that she said she hopes to move forward with her life.

"[I'm] a little bit nervous hoping that it actually is going to take hold and do what it's supposed to do and excited at the same time," she said.