Modern Breast Cancer Screening Now Available to Low-Income Women

SACRAMENTO /California Newswire/ — Governor Signs Assemblymember Nava’s AB 359. Assemblymember Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara) announced today that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed his legislation to increase access to modern breast cancer screening.
“Today is a new day for all women in California. I want to thank the Governor for doing the right thing by signing my AB 359, which will increase access for women to digital mammography, an essential tool in the early detection of breast cancer,” said Nava. “Women, regardless of economic standing or geographic location, have now been given the chance to receive the most advanced screening tools possible in the early detection of a devastating disease. This will save lives.”

AB 359 (Nava) will require digital mammography screening to be covered under the Every Woman Counts (EWC) Cancer Detection Program administered by the California Department of Public Health when analog mammography is not available. By doing so, the measure will increase access to digital mammography in publicly supported breast cancer screening programs. This measure will bring modern health tools into communities and increase doctors’ options for early detection. AB 359 passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Said Sammantha McDonald, Chair, California Public Policy Collaborative, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, “This is terrific news. It is so important that everyone have equal access to quality healthcare and this bill keeps us moving in that direction.”

Under current law, the EWC program only provides coverage for analog mammography – regardless of the fact that many doctors are upgrading to digital mammography for the detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. A number of areas around the state have seen a decrease in access to breast cancer screening due to the lack of available analog mammography machines. In many communities digital mammography is available; however, current state law restricts women who are in the EWC Program to only be eligible to receive an analog screening.

The month of October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention and cure. Health organizations and facilities across the nation use this month to highlight information and support for those affected by breast cancer.

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