HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — We all know early detection is key when it comes to ovarian and breast cancers. Now, lawmakers are seeking to expand coverage.
An estimated 3,000 women and several hundred men in Connecticut will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. The Nutmeg State has the second-highest rate of breast cancer per capita in the nation.
Throughout the years Connecticut lawmakers pushed for coverage of mammograms and ultrasounds for dense breast tissue. But that’s just for screening purposes not diagnostics. Now lawmakers are seeking to expand coverage requirements for people on Medicaid this legislative session.
Senate bills 358 and 249 would expand coverage for early detection and diagnosis of breast and ovarian cancers and make changes to the state’s early detection and treatment referral program.
Dr. Michael Crain, President of Radiological Society of Connecticut, said there is a 35% higher rate for breast cancer in women of color than Caucasian, noting “this is a significant matter of social equity.”
“These women need attention and that is exactly what S.B. 249 will do using the breast and cervical cancer program,” Crain said.
Audrey Carlson, a cancer survivor in Newington, said that “no one can prepare you for facing a health crisis or trauma,” and the best thing to do is monitor women who are at high risk.
“We must never let prohibitive costs deter a woman from getting a health screening,” Carlson said. “I was incredibly lucky. I had surgery nine weeks ago. I finished chemotherapy just last week. I’m going to live.”
Both bills carry a fiscal note of about $250,000. There were both democratic and republican lawmakers in attendance in support of these bills.