Financial Resources —Did you know that there are many financial resources that can help people living with breast cancer? Find out more
Susan G. Komen® Advocacy is the voice for over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors and the people who love them. Our mission is to translate the Komen promise to end breast cancer forever into action at all levels of government to discover and deliver the cures.
State Advocacy Efforts
Susan G. Komen supported legislation passed by the Legislaure and signed into law by Governor Cuomo in July of 2012 designed to increase patient awareness around issues related to breast density (A.9586-D/S.6769-B). We believe that it is important for a woman to understand her chances of developing breast cancer, which means being informed about the specific factors that comprise her overall risk. Breast density – a measure describing the composition of a woman's breasts – is one of the many risk factors that warrant patient awareness. This measure compares the area of breast and connective tissue seen on a mammogram to the area of fat. High breast density means there is a greater amount of breast and connective tissue compared to fat. This measure is significant because women with dense breasts appear to be at higher risk of developing breast cancer. What’s more, it can be harder to interpret mammograms in women with dense breasts. This is because fat in the breast appears dark on a mammogram, while the denser breast and connective tissues look light gray or white. Cancer can also appear white on a mammogram, leading to a situation in which dense tissue can “mask” or “hide” a cancer from view on a mammogram.
Cancer Services Program
The Cancer Services Program (CSP) provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured New Yorkers access to life-saving services for early detection of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer. For those who qualify, the CSP provides clinical breast exams, mammograms, pap tests, pelvic examinations, colorectal cancer screening, surgical consultation and diagnostic testing to people without health coverage in every county of New York. Operating through 36 Partnerships—a network of thousands of hospitals, clinics and doctors' offices—they provide the cancer testing for New Yorkers with little or no insurance.
These vital screening services have been provided to New Yorkers for more than 20 years and tens of thousands of people were provided with cancer screenings last year. But this is only 20 percent of the estimated 550,000 people eligible that could be receiving these life-saving screenings. The demand for cancer screening for the uninsured continues to grow. We need to ensure full funding of this program in the New York State Budget each year.
Oral Chemotherapy Equity Legislative Victory!
Oral chemotherapy is quickly emerging as an attractive and necessary option for select patients who, with support from their doctors, will comply with the prescribed oral regimens and self-monitor for potential complications. While oral chemotherapy drugs have been around for decades, they have been developing at an increasing rate in recent years. In fact, more than a quarter of the 400 anti-cancer agents in the pipeline today are intended as oral drugs.
Unfortunately, health insurance practices lag behind the state of the science. For example, there is a significant difference in the amount cancer patients must pay out of pocket for an oral drug and how much they pay for an intravenous product. Intravenous therapies are traditionally covered under a medical benefit, under which most patients are only responsible for an office copayment for each visit and are not required to pay a separate fee for the intravenous drug. By contrast, oral chemotherapy is generally covered under a prescription drug benefit, which tends to have higher copayments. We must ensure health insurance plans provide coverage for oral cancer drugs on a basis no less favorable than the coverage provided for intravenously-administered chemotherapy.
Legislation to address this inequity was signed into law in New York State by Governor Cuomo in 2011!