2003-10-17 / Community

Pheffer Announces Breast Cancer Month

Pheffer Announces Breast Cancer Month

October marks the 18th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to remember that steps can be taken to prevent and treat this disease. It is also time to celebrate breast cancer survivors as well as remembering those who have lost their struggle with this disease. Unfortunately, breast cancer has threatened or claimed the lives of far too many of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and co-workers.

Early detection and screening is the key to defeating breast cancer. Thanks to a landmark law that I sponsored last year (Chapter 554 of 2002), insurers must pay for annual mammograms beginning at age 40 - making New York the first state to offer this protection. The law further protects women by: expanding access to mammograms and cervical cancer screenings by closing a loophole in earlier laws; publicizing breast cancer detection and education services through a public education and outreach campaign; and requiring prescription drug plans to include coverage for approved contraceptive drugs and devices.

Paying for early breast cancer detection can be difficult for women who are under forty or may be uninsured. Fortunately, there are increasingly more life saving screenings available to these women who feel they cannot afford to get a mammogram.

Here are a few helpful breast cancer resources:

New York State Health Department web site at www.health.state.ny.us/nysdoh/cancer/center/cancerhome.htm Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization at 800-221-2141 or www.y-me.org.

Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program at 800-877-8077 or www.adelphi.edu/nysbreastcancer.

American Cancer Society at 718-263-2225 or www.cancer.org.

I strongly encourage women to take advantage of the new laws that protect them from this horrendous disease. Early prevention and diagnosis, along with appropriate treatment, can play an important role in reducing the devastation of breast cancer.

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