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Legislation Would Expand Access to Vital Breast Cancer Screening for Californians  

Susan G. Komen® Commends Bill Introductions; Urges Quick Passage

SACRAMENTO Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, commends Senate President pro Tempore Emeritus Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) for working with Komen to expand eligibility for the Every Woman Counts (EWC) Program, providing increased access to vital breast and cervical cancer services.

EWC, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), provides free breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to California’s underserved populations. From July 2017 to June 2023, the most recent 5-year reporting period, EWC provided more than 68,000 breast services and detected more than 515 breast cancers.

SB 1213, introduced by Sen. Atkins, expands the eligibility criteria for EWC from 200% of the Federal Poverty Level to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level, increasing the annual income requirement for single individuals from $30,120.00 to $45,180.00.

“Timely access to high-quality screening and diagnostic services can save lives but too often this care is skipped or delayed – especially for underserved populations,” said Molly Guthrie, VP of Policy & Advocacy at Susan G. Komen. “Komen is grateful to the leadership of Senator Atkins and her unwavering support of the EWC program.”

EWC has a proven record of cancer detection and provides public education, outreach, patient navigation and care coordination to increase breast cancer screening rates and reach underserved populations. If an individual is diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer, free treatment is available to all Californians who qualify through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program.

 “No one in California should have to delay or skip cancer screenings or treatment due to cost. I’m proud to author SB 1213 to expand eligibility to two life-saving programs – the Every Woman Counts program and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program – that provide low-income California residents with free screenings and affordable treatment for breast and cervical cancer,” said Sen. Atkins. “Making these health care services more accessible is key to improving women’s health and reducing cancer deaths – causes that are close to me personally and impact countless women and families across the state.”

In 2024 alone, more than 32,660 people in California will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 4,570 are expected to die of the disease. Ensuring increased access to these potentially lifesaving services is even more essential now, as screening rates were dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in many individuals delaying or missing their annual appointments.