Boston, Mass., August 21, 2013 – Women with dense breast tissue are at a greater risk for breast cancer than the general population. In addition, dense breast tissue may “mask” cancer on mammography. Supplemental screening has therefore been recommended by some experts for women with dense breast tissue, but questions remain regarding the added benefit and harms of available screening options. During its next public meeting on December 13, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts, the New England Comparative Effectiveness Public Advisory Council (CEPAC) will assess the comparative effectiveness and value of available screening options. CEPAC’s public deliberation of the evidence will provide clarity and guidance to clinicians, insurers, and patients confronted with decisions on how best to approach breast cancer screening in women with dense breasts.

Eleven states have passed legislation requiring that physicians inform women receiving mammograms whether they have dense breast tissue and may therefore need additional screening, with many more poised to introduce similar policies. In New England, Connecticut has enacted a mandatory breast density notification policy, and similar legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts and Maine, making the subject of this meeting particularly timely for decision makers regionally and nationally.

CEPAC members, drawn from clinical and public policy experts from all six New England states, will ultimately vote on the most effective approaches for supplemental breast cancer screening for women with dense breast tissue and discuss ways the evidence can be applied to policy and practice in New England. The meeting materials will be available online for public comment beginning November 8, 2013.

Meeting Details
Date: Friday, December 13, 2013
Time: 10:00 AM – 4:00PM ET
Location: Boston, MA (exact location TBD)

Members of the public wishing to attend the meeting must register by December 3, 2013 by visiting the “Meeting Registration” section of The website also includes instructions for those wishing to submit written comments ahead of time, and those requesting the opportunity to make public comments at the meeting.

CEPAC is a regional body whose goal is to provide objective, independent guidance on the application of medical evidence to clinical practice and payer policy decisions across New England. Initially supported by a federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), and with backing from a consortium of New England state health policy leaders, CEPAC holds public meetings to consider evidence reviews of medical tests and treatments and provide judgments regarding how the evidence can best be used across New England to improve the quality and value of healthcare services. CEPAC consists of practicing physicians with experience in evaluating and using evidence in the practice of healthcare, methodological experts, as well as patient/public members with experience in health policy, patient advocacy and public health. ICER manages the day-to-day operations of CEPAC with the input of a multi-stakeholder Advisory Board. A list of CEPAC members and Advisory Board members, as well as other information about the project, is available online at

About ICER
The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), based at the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Institute for Technology Assessment (ITA) and an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, provides independent evaluation of the clinical effectiveness and comparative value of new and emerging technologies. ICER seeks to achieve its ultimate mission of informing public policy and spurring innovation in the use of evidence to improve the value of health care for all.