Susan G. Komen® Urges Bipartisan Support, Immediate Passage
Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, applauds Senator Dinah Sykes (D-Lenexa) and Representative Gail Finney (D-Wichita) for leadership on legislation led by Komen that would remove financial barriers to imaging that can rule out breast cancer or confirm the need for a biopsy. In 2022 alone, an estimated 2,410 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer and 380 will die of the disease in Kansas.
“Everyone should have access to the care they need, especially when it could mean the difference between life and death,” said Molly Guthrie, Senior Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “Too many cancers are going undetected, but this legislation can make an immediate impact for thousands of people who need a diagnostic test every year and cannot afford it. Catching cancers early leads to better outcomes for anyone diagnosed with breast cancer.”
HB 2562/SB 471 would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for diagnostic breast imaging (such as an MRI, ultrasound, diagnostic mammogram) when a mammogram shows an abnormality in the breast or for those determined to be at high risk. Those exams can be extremely expensive and require people to pay high out-of-pocket costs – all before treatment even begins. A Komen-commissioned study found the costs to patients for diagnostic tests range from $234 for a diagnostic mammogram to $1,021 for a breast MRI. The cost of the test prevents women in Kansas from getting the imaging they require and continuing in the early detection process to determine if a breast abnormality is cancerous.
An estimated 16 percent of people who receive annual screening mammograms get called back for diagnostic imaging. Out-of-pocket costs are also burdensome to those who have previously been diagnosed with breast cancer, as diagnostic tests are often recommended each year rather than traditional screening mammography.
“Providing coverage for diagnostic imaging to screen for breast cancer is not only the right thing to do; it makes good economic sense,” said Senator Sykes. “Diagnostic imaging empowers patients and physicians by providing them with as much information as possible on unusual changes. When this results in a cancer diagnosis, these exams save lives by catching the cancer sooner rather than later. This leads to better health outcomes and lower costs for patients and their families.”
The use of breast cancer screening and follow-up diagnostics have led to significant increases in the early detection of breast cancer in the past 30 years. However, this is not true across demographics. Evidence shows that Black breast cancer patients were diagnosed at a later stage and had a higher mortality rate when compared with their white counterparts with the same insurance status.
“No one should ever feel pressured to forgo a necessary cancer screening because they can’t afford it,” said Representative Finney. “Lowering health care costs and increasing access to critical services must be our top priorities, and this bill helps make important progress on that effort.”