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Introduction of Breast Imaging Legislation Will Benefit Thousands of Floridians

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

TALLAHASSE – Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, commends Representative Marie Woodson (D-Pembroke Pines) and Senator Lori Berman (D-Boynton Beach) 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 2023 alone, more than 22,670 individuals were diagnosed with breast cancer and approximately 3,170 died of the disease in Florida. 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 Florida 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 773/SB 932, introduced by Representative Woodson and Senator Berman, 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 Florida from getting it, and as a result, breast cancer can be diagnosed at a later stage.

“Many Floridians in need of diagnostic and supplemental breast exams for the early detection of breast cancer are subjected to out-of-pocket costs that are simply unaffordable,” said Senator Berman. “As a sponsor of this legislation and as a breast cancer survivor myself, I truly understand how important it is to ensure access to these medically necessary exams, regardless of socioeconomic status or background. Now is the time to add Florida to the growing list of states who have already passed this lifesaving legislation around the country.”

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.

“I have personal experience with the early detection of breast cancer, and I know that this legislation will absolutely save lives,” said Rep. Woodson. “There are many Floridians who simply cannot afford to pay for diagnostic or supplemental exams and will skip these lifesaving tests in order to put food on the table for their families. No one should ever have to be faced with making a choice like that. It is my hope that this legislation will be considered and supported by everyone during this upcoming session.”

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.