It’s day 25 of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month! Elections are coming up November 8, but many states, including Tennessee, provide opportunities for early voting. I voted today, and I have the sticker to prove it! We all know that voting is a right that was hard won, and YOUR VOTE MATTERS! It matters especially in local and state elections where you choose the candidates that will represent you in everyday matters.
This is true for many issues, including health. As a breast cancer survivor and advocate, I lend my vote and my voice to support policies that help with health equity and equality, screening access and affordability, affordable quality cancer care for everyone no matter where you live, no matter your income, no matter your race, ethnicity, gender identity, ability or disability—EVERYONE deserves a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
What sorts of legislation is on the line for breast cancer? The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act is “a bill to amend title II of the Social Security Act to eliminate the waiting periods for disability insurance benefits and Medicare coverage for individuals with metastatic breast cancer and for other purposes.” That means that people living with MBC will be able to get the financial assistance they need immediately without the barrier of long waiting periods.
Another important piece of legislation is the Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Research and Education Act of 2021 (Introduced in 2021). “This bill requires research and education activities related to triple-negative breast cancer. The cells of these breast cancers are negative for estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors, and excess HER2 protein, so they do not respond to hormonal therapy medicines or medicines that target the HER2 protein receptors. Specifically, the National Institutes of Health must conduct and support research into the disease. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Health Resources and Services Administration must develop information about triple-negative breast cancer, including information regarding the elevated risk for minority women, for the public and for health care providers.” This is so important given the aggressive nature of the triple negative breast cancer subtype.
These are just two examples of legislation at the national level (you can find information about other important legislation for breast cancer here). Check your state legislature’s website for pending legislation specific for your state. Let your elected officials know you support legislation that helps breast cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, and the general public. And remember to VOTE! Check out this site for dates and details for your district.