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Making it easier for Tennessee womento receive breast cancer screening

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By State Senator Page Walley

Every October, our nation is painted in various shades of pink as we collectively observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time to come together to raise awareness about breast cancer, support those affected by it, and emphasize the importance of early detection and research. Beyond the ribbons and pink products, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month carries profound significance in the fight against this deadly disease.
As the most common cancer among women worldwide, early detection of breast cancer is crucial. That’s why in the General Assembly, over the years, we have made it easier for women to get breast exams. 
This year, in the General Assembly we passed legislation that helps increase access to medically necessary diagnostic and supplemental breast imaging – procedures that are necessary to rule out breast cancer or to diagnose it sooner and help save lives. The legislation eliminates the burdensome out-of-pocket cost imposed on patients for these services. It requires a health benefit plan that provides coverage for mammogram screenings to also provide for diagnostic imaging without imposing a cost-sharing requirement on the patient.
Without financial assistance, many women will delay or forego recommended breast imaging tests. This delay can mean patients will not seek care until the cancer has spread, making it much deadlier and costlier to treat. Breast cancer can be up to five times more expensive to treat when it has spread to other parts of the body and every month of delay raises the risk of death by 10%.
Breast cancer awareness saves lives. When detected in its early stages, the disease is highly treatable. However, late-stage diagnosis can lead to a more aggressive and difficult-to-treat form of the disease. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month plays a pivotal role in educating women and men about the importance of regular breast self-exams, clinical breast exams, and mammograms. It empowers individuals to take charge of their health and catch potential issues in their early, more manageable stages.
It’s important to acknowledge the progress made in breast cancer research and treatment. Thanks to ongoing research efforts, the survival rates for breast cancer have steadily improved over the years. Early detection techniques have become more sophisticated, and personalized treatment plans have become the norm. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month celebrates these accomplishments while emphasizing the need for continued research to find a cure and further improve the lives of those affected.
As always, it is an honor to serve as your state senator. Please reach out to me if I can assist you in any way at 615-741-2368 or sen.page.walley@capitol.tn.gov.

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