Women in Congress speak out about expanding access to breast cancer exams
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death for women, and while doctors have pushed to start screening at age 40, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that patients are not always provided with the insurance coverage and information they need to get tested. The most informed decisions about their potential risks.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said she wouldn’t be here today if her ovarian cancer wasn’t caught early. That’s why the House Appropriations Chair is leading the bipartisan campaign in Congress to provide women with more comprehensive mammogram data.
“Women’s lives are at stake,” DeLauro told Fox News. “Breast cancer detected in the early stages has a 99% survival rate – this shows how important early detection is.”
Nearly one in eight women will be so He was diagnosed with breast cancer The researchers said in her life. Medical professionals agreed that early detection is essential to combat the disease that has killed nearly 43,780 people this year, according to the American Cancer Society.
Dr. Doria Al-Ashry, Chairperson of the Board of Directors, Scientific Officer Breast Cancer Research Foundationfor Fox News.
Breast cancer mortality has decreased steadily since the late 1980s, due in large part to awareness campaigns, early breast cancer detection and better treatment.
still American Cancer Society He warned that the decline in breast cancer mortality has slowed in recent years. Between 2015-2019, the mortality rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer was nearly 20%.
“This is not a partisan issue, it is about saving lives,” said DeLauro, who passed breast density law In 2019, providers are required to inform patients if they have dense breasts and need additional examinations.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently responded to DeLauro’s request, introducing a new rule “to establish four categories for reporting breast tissue density in a mammography report submitted to a patient’s referring health care provider.”
Often, a mammogram for a woman’s annual examination shows two x-rays of each breast and is covered by insurance. However, if the patient notices abnormal changes and requires further ultrasound, these procedures may not be included in their insurance plans.
“I personally discovered a lump, and when I called to get a mammogram, I couldn’t believe how hard it was,” Representative Beth Van Doyen, R-Texas, told Fox News. “When I finally got my mammogram, several weeks later, after jumping through all the hoops, your usual insurance didn’t cover the cost, so I ended up with, you know, just over $800.”
Van Duyne’s experience led her to lend her support behind the bipartisan Access to Care for Metastatic Breast Cancer Act, which would speed up Social Security and Medicare payments for people with metastatic breast cancer. “It was normal for that to be covered 100%. So I was really shocked by that because if there’s anything…when you find a lump, you want to encourage women to get tested ASAP.”
Long before the 117th Congress, Susan G. Komen, was walking and the famous pink ribbon sign, women in Congress said they felt the stigma they sought to spread awareness and bring the conversation to the negotiating table.
“People are not going to say the words ‘breast cancer’ and ‘breast cancer.'” Representative Debbie Dingell, D-Mitch, told Fox News, “This was a death sentence for far too many women 30 years ago. We’ve worked together since then to improve everything.”
Dingell said that while progress has been made, there is more work to be done. “My goal is that if breast cancer screening indicates that a woman may have breast cancer, a diagnostic test, such as an ultrasound or an MRI … will be required to cover it to determine if cancer is present.”
Members on both sides of the aisle agreed that providing women with the tools they need to prevent cancer starts with having them.
“I’m just trying to make it easier for women to get this kind of healthcare support and lifesaving healthcare,” Representative Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y, told Fox News about access to metastatic breast cancer. to the law of care. “Congress and the government in general should focus on and try to help you make sure you don’t miss an offer because of time or because of money.”
So far in 2022, Congress has introduced three cancer bills and appropriated $150 million in breast cancer funding.
Al-Ashry said she hopes some of this funding will go toward research and lead to scientific breakthroughs that will help reduce the incidence of breast cancer.
“Research is the reason we’ve achieved all the breakthroughs we’ve made so far,” El-Ashry said. “Obviously we need breakthroughs…to help us move towards this ultimate goal of breast cancer prevention.”
The National Cancer Society reports that nearly four million women have survived breast cancer. Lawmakers across political divides hope their work will raise that number.