Lifesaving law for breast cancer patients in CT

Health

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – When a woman with dense breasts gets a mammogram in Connecticut, she’s notified that a follow up ultrasound is recommended.

“Are you dense does not mean here (points to head) , it means here (points to chest) says Jan Kritzman.

She knows all about it, “I was told about my dense breasts, urged to follow up with an ultrasound and there it was, a timely early stage but very aggressive breast cancer. Seen not on my mammogram, just on the ultrasound.”

Many though, did not get the ultrasound for a number of reasons – including no insurance coverage, the high cost of co-pays and challenging deductibles.

Radiologist Dr. Liane Philpotts, Chief of Breast Imaging at Smilow Cancer Hospital says, “Many women for that reason who couldn’t afford it, would forego having the ultrasound, sometimes they would have it every other year or just every few years but it was because of the cost.”

That will soon change.

“Thank God, I live in Connecticut. (with thumbs up),” says Jan Kritzman.

Flanked by state legislators who pushed for mandating breast ultrasound at no cost for patients, signed by Governor Ned Lamont, there’s reason to celebrate.

Women with dense breasts are four times more at risk of developing breast cancer.

Dr. Philpotts says it’s lifesaving legislation.

She shares, “We can’t obviously force them because we knew if they can’t afford it, we didn’t want to push it. But inside, it was very hard to know some of those women could have a cancer that we would have missed.”

Early detection, not only saves lives supporters say but also lowers health care costs.

Jan Kritzman wants Congress to pass a similar one.

She stresses, “This is not just my fight, everyone here can be a soldier in this war against this dreadful, terrible disease.”

Breast cancer also impacts men but Dr. Philpotts says in general men are not screened and they do not have breast tissue.

The new law takes effect January first, 2020.

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