WARSAW– One week ago, 30 representatives from the National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC), headquartered in Warsaw, participated in a Washington DC fly-in.
The representatives, one of which was Jennifer Cobb-Hayes, Certification Manager for NCBC, spoke to congressmen and women from 15 states in support of a moratorium against the US Preventative Services Task Force recommendations (draft) for changing the age for screening mammograms for women to age 50.
“Our mission at NCBC is achieved largely by educating our professional members and the public about breast health issues. We had an opportunity to educate our elected representatives about the potential harm of the task force’s recommendation and we did it! I was so proud of our clinicians for sharing their passion regarding this issue and even more proud of our 14 breast cancer survivors who shared their heart-wrenching stories on the Hill. It seems that we did make an impact, but we can’t stop now until this bill is passed by the House and the Senate”, said Jennifer Cobb-Hayes.
Late Wednesday evening, Representatives Renee Ellmers (NC-02) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) introduced the “Protect Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act” (PALS Act). The bill, H.R. 3339, would prevent the USPSTF draft recommendations for breast cancer screening from being finalized, retaining current breast screening guidelines which have been in effect since 2002.
The draft recommendations are of great concern to women across the country and significantly add to the confusion around screening guidelines. The recommendations give annual mammograms for women ages 40-49 a “C” grade, meaning most women in this age group, according to the Task Force, do not need an annual exam. The “C” grade could also result in 22 million women losing insurance coverage for their mammograms, forcing women to pay out of pocket for the service, or skip it all together. The proposed legislation will prevent the recommendations from being finalized until concerns from the medical community and patients have been addressed.
The National Consortium of Breast Centers wants to publicly thank Representatives Renee Ellmers and Debbie Wasserman Schultz for their support of women’s health across the country. While today marks a huge step forward for all women and their families, our job is not yet done. We have to support our Congressional champions by urging their colleagues to support this important legislation.
Here is how you can help. The National Consortium of Breast Centers (NCBC), alongside 12 other organizations from across the country, signed on to a petition urging Congress to protect access to mammograms for women under age 50.
The petition, available at http://bit.ly/stoptheguidelines has so far generated signatures from thousands of individuals who stand alongside NCBC and its partners. We urge everyone, whether your family has been affected by breast cancer or not, to spread the word through social media about the petition and this campaign to support women and protect their access to lifesaving screening mammograms.
We also need your network of friends and family to contact their members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the bill so we can get this bill across the finish line. The House is in recess until Sept. 8, so we have a little over a month to build sufficient support to improve the chances of prompt action when Congress returns.
For more information about how to get involved call 574-267-8058.