News | April 20, 2015

Susan G. Komen Advocates Petition Congress on Breast Cancer Screening Access

Joan Lunden among advocates calling for increased screening access, parity of insurance coverage for treatment options

Komen, advocates, breast cancer, Congress, Joan Lunden, Brinker, Salerno

Nancy G. Brinker (left), founder and chair of global strategy for Susan G. Komen breast cancer survivor and former \"Good Morning America\" host Joan Lunden (center) and Komen President and CEO Judy Salerno, M.D., (right) at the Komen Advocacy Summit. Photo courtesy of Business Wire.

April 20, 2015 — Members of the Susan G. Komen Foundation took to the nation’s capitol April 16 to advocate for the importance of access to cancer screening programs. The group also called on policy makers to ensure parity of insurance coverage between oral chemotherapy and traditional IV treatments.   

Among the group was breast cancer survivor and former “Good Morning America” host Joan Lunden. Lunden, who was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer last summer, met with members of her home state of Connecticut — including U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Rep. Rosa DeLauro — to talk about her experience with breast cancer. She stressed the importance of women knowing about breast density, and pushing to have a secondary screening if they have dense breast tissue, an action that found her breast cancer after receiving a clean mammogram.

Komen advocates from its community Affiliate Network visited 360 offices in both the House and Senate to push for maintaining the government’s commitment to vital safety net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. They also discussed the importance of ensuring parity between the way insurance covers oral chemotherapy, which often is governed by prescription drug benefit rules, and traditional IV treatments, which often have lower co-pays.

“Everything we do is aimed at ending this disease, and helping the millions of people who need us, every single day,” said Judith A. Salerno, M.D., M.S., Komen’s president and CEO, noting that Komen is also encouraging increases for biomedical research funding. “The fact is that biomedical research funding has dropped by 25 percent in real dollar terms over the past 10 years and we run the risk that medical research will stall. We urge the federal government to increase this important funding.”

The Summit kicked off with a dinner that featured remarks from Lunden, who discussed how her diagnosis has inspired her to educate other women. She was joined by Salerno and Nancy Brinker, Susan G. Komen founder and chair of global strategy. The week ended with a lunch featuring a talk from singer and songwriter Nikia Hammonds-Blakely, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed with the disease when she was 16 years old.

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