SPRINGFIELD — Women should not face cost barriers when considering whether to undergo a more thorough, 3D imaging process that can more accurately detect breast cancer, say Illinois Senate Democrats as new legislation works its way through the General Assembly to address women’s health needs.

“Increased access to more thorough, more modern forms of medical technology will mean fewer of our mothers and daughters and sisters taken from us by breast cancer,” said Senator Linda Holmes, D-Aurora.

House Bill 3673, which passed the Illinois House in April, would require 3D mammograms to be covered under women’s comprehensive health insurance plans. A related proposal, Senate Bill 54, sponsored by State Sen. John Mulroe, D-Chicago, requires annual three dimensional mammograms to be covered under women’s insurance plans.

Currently, insurance companies must cover an annual, flat image scan at regular intervals for women over 40. Such scans can potentially miss abnormalities, particularly in women with denser breast tissue. Three dimensional scans find 40 percent more invasive cancers than 2D scans and better visualize any abnormalities, according to the American Cancer Society.

Using the newer method gives doctors a clearer view and could eliminate mistaken diagnoses, Mulroe said.

“Breast cancer is deadly and devastating to families. Early detection not only saves lives and the related cost of future treatment, but it also eliminates the anxiety women experience waiting for the call back date,” Mulroe said.
 
The measures have met with broad support among Senate Democrats.

“It is critically important that women have access to breast cancer screenings,” said Senator Iris Y. Martinez. “Women have a much better chance of surviving from breast cancer if it is detected early.”

“It’s always important to me to support legislation that improves women’s access to health care,” said Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th), a co-sponsor of both measures. “Breast cancer is a leading killer of Illinois women, and early diagnosis is the key to successful treatment, so I applaud these efforts to connect all women – particularly those who are low-income – to regular screenings and the highest quality of care.”

“These proposals make cutting edge medical technology more accessible for more women,” said Senator Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake. “In the long run, that’s not just going to save money, it’s going to save the lives of our mothers and daughters.”

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