Key Messages from the 2019 Susan G. Komen Advocacy Summit in Washington D.C.

We at Susan G. Komen understand the challenges lawmakers face. As a leader in breast cancer research and breast health services, we are committed to empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures. We are calling on lawmakers to join us.

Access to Breast Health Services
• Without access to breast cancer early detection programs, many uninsured and underinsured women are forced to delay or forgo screenings, which can lead to late-stage breast cancer diagnoses. This delay can mean that a woman won’t seek care until the cancer has spread beyond the breast, making it much harder to successfully treat.
• The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides potentially life-saving breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured women who do not qualify for Medicaid.
• Ensuring adequate funding for critical safety-net programs, like the NBCCEDP, is key to ensuring all women have access to vital screening services.

Invest in the Cancer Treatments of Tomorrow
• The National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its National Cancer Institute (NCI) have played a role in every major cancer prevention, detection and treatment advance, while also delivering scientific breakthroughs for many other diseases, for decades.
• Since 2004, the NIH budget has failed to keep pace with medical inflation. As a result, fewer competitive research project grants are being awarded.
• Biomedical research is a wise investment that will not only defend Americans against cancer and other diseases, but also serves as one of our nation’s primary paths to innovation, global competitiveness and economic growth.

Increase Access to Diagnostic Breast Imaging
• Diagnostic breast imaging is typically non-invasive and often used as a follow-up test after an abnormal finding on a mammogram or clinical breast exam, they are pivotal in the process of detecting breast cancers early.
• If women are unable to afford the costs associated with diagnostic imaging, many might delay or forego additional tests to rule out or confirm a breast cancer diagnosis. This delay can mean that woman won’t seek care until the cancer has spread beyond the breast making it much deadlier and much more costly to treat.

Reduce Insurance Barriers to Treatment
• While intravenous (IV) drug therapy is the most well-known component of cancer treatment, an increasing number of cancer drugs today can be administered orally. Insurance coverage has not kept pace with innovation and the growing trend toward orally administered anti-cancer drugs. The result has been patient cost-sharing obligations that are much higher for oral anti-cancer drugs than for drugs delivered through IV-administration.
• Patients should not be forced to choose a less appropriate or effective treatment option simply because an insurer provides less coverage for a cancer drug that happens to be administered by mouth rather than intravenously. Patients and their physicians should be free to make treatment decisions based on what is best for that patient, not due to cost.