PEORIA, Ill. – During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, state Rep. Jehan Gordon-Booth, D-Peoria, is highlighting the importance of early detection for breast cancer and a new law that expands mammogram coverage in Illinois.
“Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among women,” Gordon-Booth said. “We need to have frank and open conversations about the risk factors for breast cancer as well as raising awareness of recommended screening guidelines for early detection.”
American Cancer Society (ACS) recommendations state that women ages 40 to 44 should consult their regular physician about their personal risk factors for breast cancer, which can include aging, alcohol consumption, family history, an inactive lifestyle and obesity. For women ages 45 to 54, the ACS recommends receiving an annual mammogram and that women older than 55 switch to receiving mammograms every other year, unless a doctor recommends more frequent screening.
Gordon-Booth backed Senate Bill 162 to help expand health insurance coverage for mammograms. Health insurance companies in Illinois are now required to cover both screening and diagnostic mammograms as part of preventative care coverage. Previously, only screening mammograms were covered as part of preventative care and if a doctor saw or suspected an abnormality, a follow-up diagnostic mammogram procedure would be ordered, but not considered as part of preventative care. Under the new law backed by Gordon-Booth, diagnostic mammograms are considered part of preventive care and insurance companies are mandated to cover them with no co-pays, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act’s federal guidelines for preventative health care coverage.
“Early detection is critical for women who are at risk for breast cancer in order to provide proper treatment,” Gordon-Booth said. “During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge all women to consult with a doctor to understand their personal risk factors for breast cancer and to seek a mammogram if recommended.”