Presenting the 2017 Breast Cancer Bill of Rights

Hundreds of Susan G. Komen advocates descended on Washington D.C. to meet with elected officials about safeguarding and improving access to potentially life-saving services while removing insurance barriers to cancer treatment.

The San Diego contingent, headed by Lizzie Wittig, director of grants and public policy, met with every elected official from San Diego County. 

“We know that current economic conditions have placed unprecedented strains on federal and state budgets,” said Wittig.  “We understand the challenges lawmakers face, but we are asking all to join us in implementing the Breast Cancer Bill of Rights.”

Here’s our message platform for today’s visits:

Ensure Access to Breast Health Services

  • Without access to breast cancer early detection programs, many uninsured women are forced to delay or forgo screenings, which can lead to late-stage breast cancer diagnoses. This delay can mean that a woman won’t seek care until the cancer has spread beyond the breast, making it much harder to successfully treat.
  • The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides potentially life-saving breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women who do not qualify for Medicaid.
  • Ensuring adequate funding to critical safety-net programs like the NBCCEDP is key to ensuring all women have access to vital screening services.

Invest in the Cancer Treatments of Tomorrow

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Cancer Institute (NCI) have played a role in every major cancer prevention, detection and treatment advance, while also delivering scientific breakthroughs for many other diseases, for decades.

Since 2004, the NIH budget has failed to keep pace with medical inflation. As a result, fewer competitive research project grants are being awarded.

Annual cancer incidence rates are projected to increase by 31 percent over the next decade, growing to 2.1 million new cases expected in 2025 alone.

Biomedical research is a wise investment that will not only defend Americans against cancer and other diseases, but also serves as one of our nation’s primary paths to innovation, global competitiveness and economic growth.

Reduce Insurance Barriers to Treatment

While intravenous (IV) drug therapy is the most well-known component of cancer treatment, an increasing number of cancer drugs today can be administered orally. Insurance coverage has not kept pace with innovation and the growing trend towards orally administered anti-cancer drugs. The result has been patient cost-sharing obligations that are much higher for oral anti-cancer drugs than for drugs delivered through IV-administration.

Patients should not be forced to choose a less appropriate treatment option simply because an insurer provides less coverage for a cancer drug that happens to be administered by mouth rather than intravenously. Patients and their physicians should be free to make treatment decisions based on what is best for that patient.

Read the Bill of Rights here