Call to Action – Urge Congressional Representatives to Support Breast Cancer Screening and People Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer

Cancer is a great and terrible equalizer. It doesn’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or if you support other political philosophies or are apolitical. Anyone can be diagnosed with cancer. For breast cancer, access to routine screening and diagnostic imaging is critical for early detection, accurate diagnosis, and receiving treatments in a timely fashion.

It can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Photo Source Deposit Photos

When breast cancer metastasizes, or spreads to other parts of the body, time is precious, and people living with metastatic breast cancer need all the financial and medical support they can get.

How can you help? There are two pieces of legislation in need of support and a federal program in desperate need of reauthorization:

Courtesy of Susan G. Komen
Photo Credit Deposit Photos

The first piece of legislation, the Access to Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD) Act, will reduce out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic imaging for people with health insurance. While screening mammography is normally covered, additional imaging that’s needed when something suspicious or abnormal is spotted on a mammogram can become pricey. For each of my diagnoses (initial breast cancer diagnosis and diagnosis for residual disease), I required additional diagnostic mammography, diagnostic MRI, and diagnostic ultrasound. They were most DEFINITELY medically necessary to determine that the suspicious lesions on my mammography were indeed cancer – and for past follow-up diagnostic imaging, to determine that suspicious lesions were benign. This legislation will reduce the financial burden for diagnostic imaging that can be a barrier for early diagnosis.

The second piece of legislation, the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act, would reduce wait times for receiving Social Security Disability Benefits and Medicare. Right now, the wait time for Medicare benefits for people living with metastatic breast cancer is 5 months, and the average wait for disability is 24 months. The five-year survival rate for stage 4 metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is 22 percent, and the median survival is three years (Reference). As one legislative staffer noted when I spoke with him about the issue and the wait times, “That’s cruel.” It is. People living with MBC need medical care coverage and financial support for themselves and their families. Legislation waiving wait times for ALS and end-stage kidney disease passed, setting a precedent for this important legislation supporting MBC.

Finally, reauthorization of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, will preserve and expand access to screening for un- and under-insured American. Early detection increases a patient’s chances of survival, so this life-saving program needs your support.

Please help these Bills become Law!

Please contact your Senators and Congressional Representative and urge them to co-sponsor and/or support these three key pieces of legislation. Feel free to copy and paste information from this blog post or use it as a script in a phone call.

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer

UPDATETeam Lab Rats raised $1,500 for Making Strides! Thank you to everyone who donated, bought my books in October, and for everyone who supported and shared fundraiser deets! I’ll be posting pictures from the event this weekend!

Me The Day Before My Breast Cancer Surgery

I’m thrilled to be a part of the 2019 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Initiative, sponsored by The American Cancer Society and Avon. American Cancer Society is a great organization, supporting researchers, patients, survivors, and clinicians. I’ve had the great fortune to serve as a peer reviewer for their research grants program, and I’ve got to tell you – there are some AMAZING new investigators across the United States working hard every day to find new treatments, better diagnostics, better interventions, and extending our knowledge of this complex and terrifying collection of diseases.

In addition to research, they fund patient transport to and from treatments, personal assistance to help patients understand their diagnosis and get the help they need, and one-on-one support for breast cancer patients. This is a fantastic organization that I’m proud to support as a researcher, advocate, and survivor.

I’m Team Leader for Team Lab Rats, and we’ve raised over $1,000 so far and growing! I’m also donating 100% of my October book royalties to this Making Strides Fundraiser. Pictures and updates to follow.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, reach out to The American Cancer Society for accurate information, resources, and support. Knowledge is power. You are not alone.