By New York State Senator Joseph A. Griffo, R-Rome, 47th District
We’ve tackled many issues in Albany this legislative session, but passing a measure I sponsored that would help protect women from breast cancer is something I’m very proud of.
More than 15,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in New York, with more than 2,600 of them tragically dying from this disease, according to the State Department of Health. That’s thousands of our mothers and wives, our daughters and sisters, whose lives are at risk.
It doesn’t have to be this way, however. The key to treating and defeating breast cancer in women is early detection, and fortunately we have the means through modern breast screening technology to confront this disease when it is diagnosed before it’s too late. In fact, tomosynthesis – otherwise known as 3-D mammography – has proven to be more consistent and effective than traditional methods in detecting breast cancer and reducing false positives. By collecting multiple images of a breast to create a detailed three-dimensional image, 3-D mammography allows medical experts to better detect masses that may have been harder to identify.
This technology can save lives. The problem is that most insurance companies do not provide women with coverage for 3-D mammography.
I am glad to report that I have sponsored legislation that would require insurance companies in New York State to provide coverage to women who choose to take advantage of this life-saving technology. Both the Senate and Assembly have passed this measure, so now we are just waiting for the Governor’s signature to make this law.
Thousands of women in New York are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and if our state wants to be a leader in protecting women from this heartbreaking disease, then we must ensure that women have undeniable access to the best methods of mammography available. Breast cancer can be a life-changing diagnosis for any of our families and friends, and so I am proud that the Legislature has approved my efforts to change the law so all women can have the hope of early detection.
We will never know the number of women whose lives could have been saved had they known about 3-D mammography, or who decided against utilizing this effective screening method because of a lack of insurance coverage.
Our message across New York State has been to encourage women to be screened for breast cancer because early detection saves lives. So if technology exists that can spare more women from this devastating disease, then we must do everything we can to ensure every woman has access to the best mammography available.