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New Ohio law now in effect expanding access to breast cancer screenings

WLWT Cincinnati 9/23/2022
new oh breast cancer advocacy bill goes into effect © U.C. Health new oh breast cancer advocacy bill goes into effect

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month but advocates didn't want to wait until then to help people gain better access to screening opportunities.

On Friday, Ohio House Bill 371 went into effect. The bipartisan effort aims to help all adult women, regardless of age, receive coverage for an annual mammogram, including 3D screenings, and advanced screening aid for those with dense breast tissue. This expanded and more expedited process includes those with private insurance and Medicaid.

Nearly half of women have dense breast tissues, according to U.C. Health, which can make detecting cancer on a traditional mammogram more difficult. This is because dense breast tissue and cancer are both white, according to breast radiologist Dr. Annie Brown. This can lead to missed or delayed diagnosis.

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

HB371 hopes to change that, and misdiagnosis, by guaranteeing screenings and additional screenings if needed to better catch cancers.

"As a breast radiologist; I see firsthand how breast cancer can be masked by dense tissue," Brown said. "And we know that this is an area that we fall short in early detection is for patients with dense breasts so for those patients to get additional screening may be life-saving."

Brown, along with Stage 4 breast cancer survivor Michele Young teamed with state Reps. Jean Schmidt and Sedrick Denson to help pass the bill and be signed by Gov. Mike DeWine.

"In 2015, I saw shadows on my mammogram. They sent me back but not for an MRI. It went undetected. It was a garden variety cancer and they grow double in size every six months. I had no idea. I should be dead," Michele Young said. "Only one in 100 with my diagnosis go into complete remission for a period of time. Half die within three years. The other sailing towards a horrific death. None of this would have happened if this legislation had taken place. Nothing."

Part of the new legislation includes paperwork that will be sent to patients informing them if they have breast cancer and, if so, what level of risk does that put them in for a possible cancer diagnosis.

READ THE FULL STORY:New Ohio law now in effect expanding access to breast cancer screenings

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