Tuesday, June 28, 2016
In advance of Wednesday’s National Cancer Research “Moonshot” Summit, convened by Vice President Joe Biden and the National Cancer Institute, the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) applauds the effort to rapidly push for the medical progress needed to prevent, treat and cure all types of cancer.
With national attention focused on accelerating research to find a cure, the Society urges that leaders also recognize prior scientific advances like screening, which is essential to finding cancers while they are most treatable, reducing unnecessary cancer deaths. In addition to saving lives, early detection can help patients avoid expensive and extensive treatment, which may not have been required had the cancer been diagnosed earlier.
“Any action to advance science and boost efforts to prevent, treat and cure breast cancer, which is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States, needs to be met with robust support and enthusiasm from all stakeholders. Almost everyone we know has been affected by breast cancer or another form of cancer,” said SBI President, Dr. Elizabeth Morris, MD, Chief, Breast Imaging Service Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “The administration’s moonshot offers a clear directive that we need to detect cancers earlier; ensuring access to mammography must be part of that discussion.”
Currently, many women are able to access an annual mammogram to screen for breast cancer. With the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), health plans must cover mammography as a preventive service for which no copay is applied. Unfortunately, this preventive service benefit is in jeopardy. Mammography is covered in 2016 and 2017 only because of the moratorium that Congress placed on the breast cancer screening recommendations of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Without the moratorium, the USPSTF recommendations would limit access mammography for breast cancer screening, in two ways. The service would be covered, without copay, only for women age 50-74 and only if the test was performed every other year, rather than annually and also for women aged 40-49, as recommended by many professional organizations.
Various screening guidelines – across a host of cancers – are confusing for patients, particularly for women seeking quality, evidence-based information from their clinicians. And while stakeholder educational efforts and awareness campaigns can help offset misinformation that endanger women, efforts at the federal level to save lives must also include actions to preserve screening.
For more information regarding the proven effectiveness of regular mammography screening, please visit Endtheconfusion.org.
For more information on the National Cancer “Moonshot” Initiative visit: http://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/moonshot-cancer-initiative
Contact Tim Tassa at 202-263-2580 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange an interview with an SBI spokesperson.
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