Sacramento, CA — A lawmaker has, on International Women’s Day, today introduced state legislation aiming to close screening and treatment gaps for breast and cervical cancers for low-income residents.
According to Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins, AB 1795 would expand the California Dept. of Health Care Services’ Every Woman Counts (EWC), a cancer detection and treatment program that already provides free screenings to underserved women such as clinical pelvic and breast exams and mammograms. The bill proposes to provide coverage to patients under the age of 40 who exhibit breast cancer symptoms as well as to extend the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program, both to those suffering recurring cancer in the same part of the body as well as to those whose treatment needs exceed 18 months for breast cancer; 24 months for cervical cancer.
“This bill will make sure that all California women have access to mammograms and early cancer treatment, regardless of their age, what kind of cancer they have or where they have it, and how long it takes to fight it,” states Atkins. An advocate for proactive treatment, she notes, “The best, most effective way to keep Californians healthy is to detect problems early and begin treatment immediately. Unfortunately, those principles aren’t always followed in state law. We’re going to fix that.”
Susan G. Komen California Public Policy Collaborative is a sponsor of the legislation. Among several supporters and stakeholders on hand for the announcement, Komen Sacramento Executive Director Kelly Mac Millan shares, “We are confident that by removing state-imposed timelines for treatment and expanding access to women who are under the age of 40 and showing signs of breast cancer, AB 1795 will save more lives. We are honored that Speaker Emeritus Atkins has chosen to champion this important life-saving legislation.”
The bill will next head to an Assembly Health Committee hearing next Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m.