Susan G. Komen, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, and more than 120 patient advocates gathered in the nation’s capital today, meeting with nearly 350 policymakers to ensure access to breast health services, investment in biomedical research, and reduced insurance barriers to breast cancer treatment.
“Today we bring together survivors, friends and advocates to work toward our shared mission to end breast cancer,” said Komen Interim President and CEO Ellen Willmott. “Since 1982, Komen has worked with representatives on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we are pursuing cures for cancer, and in the interim, ensuring that women and men everywhere receive high-quality, timely breast cancer care.”
The Komen advocates encouraged their congressional representatives to maintain vital safety-net programs such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, which pays for screenings for low-income and uninsured women.
They also stressed the urgency to make changes to insurance regulations that can sometimes act as financial barriers to cancer care, such as those that limit access to oral anti-cancer drugs due to significantly higher cost-sharing practices compared to traditional intravenous chemotherapy. Specifically, Komen advocates encouraged their elected officials to support the Cancer Drug Parity Act (H.R.1409) – re-introduced by U.S. Representatives Leonard Lance (R-NJ-07) and Brian Higgins (D-NY-26) earlier this week.
"We want to thank Congressman Lance for introducing this vital legislation on oral parity, which we've already passed in the state of New Jersey," said Director of Community Health of Komen North Jersey Tina Jacobs, a constituent of NJ-07. "We’ve seen the impact of this bill in our community, including especially huge benefits for women with metastatic breast cancer, which is why Komen and our Affiliate are proud to support this bill."
Komen also is renewing its call for increased investment in breast cancer research. As biomedical research budgets at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD) fail to keep pace with medical inflation, innovative cancer treatments are at risk.
“Although organizations like ours invest millions in breast cancer research each year, curing cancer will require the resources of the federal government,” said Willmott. “Every dollar invested in biomedical research brings us closer to an end to breast cancer, and all cancers.”
The largest funder of breast cancer research outside of the U.S. government, Komen works in laboratories and communities nationwide. To date, the organization has invested more than $2.9 billion into its mission. Read more about Komen’s 2017-18 Advocacy Priorities.