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California Breast Cancer Survivors and Advocates Call on State to Nix Screening Cuts
Date:12/10/2009

ess their personal risk factors in deciding whether to have a mammogram. However it was intended, the potential for impediments to screening based on the guidelines exist.

"Women ages 40 to 49 must have access to mammography if they need it," said Jennifer Luray, president of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance. "As states across the country struggle to balance their budgets, we will be watching to ensure the USPSTF recommendations are not used as a justification for slashing these critical services to women in need."

Early detection of breast cancer is a key to surviving the disease. When breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year relative survival rate is 98 percent, but declines to 84 percent for regional disease and 23 percent when cancer has metastasized or spread to other parts of the body. Unfortunately, women with low incomes who are uninsured or underinsured -- like those eligible for Every Women Counts -- are more likely to skip potentially life-saving cancer screenings, which leads to later diagnoses, larger tumors and lower survival rates.

In California alone, 21,700 women will have been diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 4,000 will have lost their battle with the disease.

"We know the need will continue regardless of the ability of the state to meet it. Komen Affiliates will continue to do our part to meet the needs of underserved women; yet, these resources are extremely limited and not available in all areas. We cannot do this alone," said Sanderson. "Komen for the Cure and its Affiliates have long been concerned that one-third of women in the U.S. today -- some 23 million -- are already not receiving regular recommended screenings due to lack of access, education or awareness. Unfortunately, the decision to restrict access to the Every Woman Counts program makes the problem even worse."

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SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure, San Diego
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