|Posted:||December 6, 2013 11:46 AM|
|From:||Representative Maria P. Donatucci|
|To:||All House members|
|Subject:||Co-sponsorship of Legislation – Increasing eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings|
|In the near future, I will introduce legislation to amend Act 74 of 2005, also known as the Pennsylvania Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Screening Act, to increase eligibility for breast and cervical cancer screenings through the Department of Health (DoH). This bill is part of the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health, a comprehensive proposal to address the real health issues affecting Pennsylvania women today. I hope you will join me in this effort.
The statistics surrounding breast and cervical cancers are truly alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2010, 206,966 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States, and 40,996 women died from the disease. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women and is one of the most deadly. While the risk of contracting breast cancer increases with age, large numbers of young women face the reality of this disease every year. With regards to cervical cancer, the disease is often not diagnosed because of missed opportunities for screening, early diagnosis, and treatment. All women are at risk for the disease, but it is most common in women over the age of 30. Each year, about 12,000 women in the United States get cervical cancer.
Act 74 established a program to support breast and cervical cancer screening services to low-income, underinsured, and uninsured women 40 to 49 years of age through DoH’s Healthy Woman Program. Before the implementation of Act 74, the program only had sufficient federal funding to provide these screening services to women ages 50 to 64. Today, the program is funded through a combination of department funds and through a grant DoH receives from CDC. My legislation will increase access to these important health screenings by allowing women between the ages of 30 and 65 to qualify for the Healthy Woman Program if they meet all other applicable requirements. The statistics show that these types of cancer are not confined to women of a particular age. As such, screening qualifications should be expanded in this state to reflect this reality. The money we spend on screening today saves thousands in treatment costs down the road.
This bill is an important step in improving the health of women throughout the Commonwealth and increasing access to care. I invite all members to sign on as co-sponsors to this legislation.
Introduced as HB1900