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Introduction of Breast Imaging Legislation Will Benefit Thousands of Kansans


Susan G. Komen® Commends Introduction of Bill Focused on Advancing Early Breast Cancer Detection

TOPEKA, Kan., March 7, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Susan G. Komen ®, the world's leading breast cancer organization, commends Representative Linda Featherston (D-Overland Park) and Representative Laura Williams (R-Lenexa) for working with Komen to eliminate financial barriers to earlier breast cancer detection by ensuring that everyone has equitable access to diagnostic and supplemental breast imaging.

In Kansas, more than 2,600 people will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 370 are expected to die of the disease in 2024 alone. The exorbitant out-of-pocket costs associated with essential breast imaging procedures ranging from hundreds-to-thousands of dollars, often force individuals into the difficult decision of skipping these tests or making significant financial sacrifices.

"Nobody should have to forego a test that helps to rule out breast cancer or confirm the need for a biopsy because of the cost, yet thousands of people in Kansas are doing it every year," said Molly Guthrie, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. "This bill will provide pivotal access to diagnostic and supplemental imaging so that individuals can get the care they need without having to endure undue financial burden. It is an important step toward equitable access to care, potentially saving lives by facilitating early detection and treatment."

HB 2689, introduced by Reps. Featherston and Williams, eliminates the patient out-of-pocket costs for medically necessary diagnostic and supplemental breast imaging including MRIs, ultrasounds, and diagnostic mammograms. While no-cost mammograms are currently available to women, when a mammogram reveals an abnormality, diagnostic and supplemental imaging is necessary to give medical providers a closer look at the abnormality and determine if a biopsy is needed. The high out-of-pockets costs for the follow-up imaging deters many individuals in Kansas from getting it, and as a result, breast cancer can be diagnosed at a later stage.

"I am so thankful that my breast cancer last year was caught early by a routine mammogram. I was blessed to be able to have every test my medical team advised," said Rep. Featherston. "No Kansan should have to worry about whether or not they can afford diagnostic imaging that could save their life."

An estimated 12% of individuals are called back for additional imaging after an abnormal screening mammogram and require diagnostic imaging. This diagnostic or supplemental imaging is often crucial for individuals previously diagnosed with breast cancer or those considered high-risk. The cost creates inequities in care and imposes additional financial barriers for these patients.

"Together, with women legislators on both sides of the aisle, I am proud to support House Bill 2689 concerning diagnostic breast examinations," said Rep. Williams. "This bill is crucial in eliminating financial barriers and promoting easier access to early cancer detection. Together, we are paving the path towards a healthier future for women's health in Kansas."

Despite significant advancements in breast cancer screening and diagnostics over the past 30 years, disparities persist across demographics. Evidence shows that Black and Hispanic breast cancer patients tend to be diagnosed at a later stage, potentially due to delays in follow-up imaging after abnormal findings on an annual mammogram.

A Komen-commissioned study found out-of-pockets costs for patients to range from $234 for a diagnostic mammogram to more than $1,000 for a breast MRI. Additionally, a recent study published in Radiology found that 1 in 5 patients said they would not go in for recommended follow-up imaging if they had to pay a deductible.

About Susan G. Komen®

Susan G. Komen® is the world's leading nonprofit breast cancer organization, working to save lives and end breast cancer forever. Komen has an unmatched, comprehensive 360-degree approach to fighting this disease across all fronts and supporting millions of people in the U.S. and in countries worldwide. We advocate for patients, drive research breakthroughs, improve access to high-quality care, offer direct patient support and empower people with trustworthy information. Founded by Nancy G. Brinker, who promised her sister, Susan G. Komen, that she would end the disease that claimed Suzy's life, Komen remains committed to supporting those affected by breast cancer today, while tirelessly searching for tomorrow's cures. Visit komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN. Connect with us on social at www.komen.org/contact-us/follow-us/.

Cristobal Martinez
Susan G. Komen
[email protected]

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SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure