October is Women’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October 3, 2003
October marks the 18th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a good time to remember that steps can be taken to prevent and treat the disease. It’s also a time to celebrate breast cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their struggle with this deadly disease. Unfortunately, breast cancer has threatened or claimed the lives of far too many of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and co-workers. I am an advocate of early detection and screening for breast cancer. Thanks to a landmark law I sponsored last year (Chap. 554 of 2002), insurers must pay for annual mammograms beginning at age 40 – making New York the first state to offer this protection. The law further protects women by: expanding access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings by closing a loophole in earlier laws; publicizing breast cancer detection and education services through a public education and outreach campaign; and requiring prescription drug plans to include coverage for approved contraceptive drugs and devices. Even though we’ve made great strides to protect women in New York, there is much more work to be done. This year, I have supported legislation to:
- Guarantee Medicaid coverage of treatment for women diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer through the Center for Disease Control Early Detection and Prevention program (A.4519);
- Add six persons who have or have had breast cancer, and are active on community-based breast cancer organizations, to the Health Research Science Board to ensure breast cancer survivors have a voice in important policy decisions (A.4002); and
- Encourage more innovative proposals for mapping of breast cancer in the state and streamline collection of data on pesticides (A.3638).