PALATINE, Ill. – State Rep. Nabeela Syed, D-Palatine, and Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, D-IL 9th, are joining with local nonprofit My Density Matters to push for state and federal legislation addressing gaps in breast cancer medical coverage.
“As a lawmaker, constituents are often the ones who inform the legislation I file and advocate for in Springfield. Leslie Yerger, founder and CEO of My Density Matters, reached out to our office with an idea to make Molecular Breast Imaging, testing that can better detect cancer among people who have dense breast tissue, more accessible and affordable for Illinoisans.” Syed said. “Standard mammograms are not enough to detect breast cancer in patients with dense breast tissue. When appropriate check-ups are substantially more expensive because insurance is inadequate, patients often don’t seek the medical care they need. I’m happy to partner with Congresswoman Schakowsky on solving this problem at the state and federal levels, and grateful for the work My Density Matters has done to expose this issue.”
Syed filed House Bill 4180 to ensure that more extensive breast cancer screenings for those that need them are covered by all medical insurance at the state level. 40-50% of people with breast tissue have dense breasts.
“People with dense breasts have long been denied an equal chance to find their breast cancer early, while still curable and more easily treatable,” Yerger said. “We are thrilled that this bill provides increased access to essential additional screening, working to end the disparity between those who have dense breasts and those who don’t. This bill will save Illinoisans’ lives.”
Schakowsky filed similar legislation at the federal level. “Far too many women have received an ‘all clear’ after a mammogram only to discover later that cancer was hidden by their dense breast tissue. As a woman with dense breasts myself, I think it is imperative that all women consult with their health care providers to determine if they have dense breasts. Women with dense breasts are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer than those without dense breast tissue,” said Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. “We must strengthen access and coverage for additional diagnostic testing, to ensure that women with dense breasts can know for certain that they are cancer-free. I am a proud cosponsor of the Find It Early Act at the federal level to ensure all health insurance plans cover screening and diagnostic breast imaging, including mammograms, ultrasounds and breast ultrasounds, and MRIs with no cost-sharing. I am so proud that my dear friend, State Rep. Nabeela Syed, is leading this charge at the state level. Together, with the help of health care advocates from all over the country, we can save countless lives.”