SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Hundreds of new laws Georgia went into effect on Monday - from legalizing medical marijuana to the age a child can get married increased.
One law that is being implemented involves a local woman who was not diagnosed three different times when she had breast cancer. Doctors say not only is it difficult to detect breast cancer in women who have dense breast tissue, but breast density is linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Under the new law - House Bill 62 - doctors will be required to notify patients if they have dense breast tissue.
“My surgeon told me that I had dense breast tissue. Trying to find cancer in my breast was like trying to find a golf ball in the middle of a snow blizzard. It was never going to be found with just a mammogram," Margie Singleton said.
Margie Singleton was diagnosed with breast cancer after being misdiagnosed three times because of her dense breast tissue.
“When I got diagnosed with breast cancer, and it had been missed because of my dense breast tissue, I thought if I didn’t know about this, there were certainly so many other women that did not have a clue about it, and I got it in my mind that this wasn’t going to happen to anyone else," Singleton said.
That’s when she turned her pain into purpose.
“The earlier we detect these cancers, the better the overall survival rate for women. Early detection is so key, and part of Margie’s Law is educating those women about that and allowing those women to ask those questions," she said.
The bill, dubbed “Margie’s Law” after the Savannah resident, made Georgia the 37th state to pass a law requiring patients to be told if they have dense breast tissue, what it means, and how they can protect themselves.
That goes for every woman in Georgia - even the women who cannot afford healthcare. Places like the Diversity Health Clinic in Hinesville help bridge that gap.
“With Margie’s Law, that’s very important for us because we do serve that population who doesn’t have access to breast examinations, and now having that as a law in order to insure people are informed of the risk of having dense breast tissue and how that impacts your body is very important for us," said Stephanie Jones-Heath, Diversity Health Clinic.
Margie is now living in remission and is on a mission to inform other women. She also hopes this new law and her non profit will help save lives.
For a list of new laws that went into effect on July 1, 2019 in Georgia, click here.