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Susan G. Komen for the Cure, State Lawmakers, Breast Cancer Survivors, Celebrities and Activists Call on Legislature to Strengthen Breast Cancer Screening Program for Underserved Women

Komen California Affiliates Join Nationwide Campaign to Close the Gaps that

Make Breast Cancer Deadlier for Low-Income Women and Women of Color

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, hundreds of breast cancer advocates and survivors from the seven California Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, key state legislators, health officials and entertainers including Desperate Housewives' Ricardo Chavira called for stronger breast cancer policies at events which included lighting the State Capitol pink and a rally and concert at the Crest Theatre.


At a symbolic pink lighting of the State Capitol building, California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-46), Assemblywoman Patty Berg (D-01) and Assemblyman Roger Niello (R-05) voiced support for closing the healthcare gaps that cause breast cancer to be deadlier for low-income women, minorities and the uninsured. This year, nearly 20,000 California women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 4,000 will die. Komen representatives called on the California legislature to increase funding and broaden eligibility requirements for the California Department of Health Services' Every Woman Counts Program, which provides screening and treatment for uninsured and under-insured women. More than 1.2 million women are eligible for screening under the program; however fewer than 250,000 women are served each year due to lack of funding.

"California has been hard hit by breast cancer and low-income women, the uninsured and women of color have been hit the hardest," said Hala Moddelmog, President and CEO for Susan G. Komen for the Cure. "California is ranked 44th in the nation for providing women access to health insurance, and 21 percent of the state's women have no health insurance. The state needs to make a commitment to fund screening for every woman who needs it by increasing funds and expanding coverage through the California Department of Health Services' Every Woman Counts Program."

Several celebrities and entertainers participated in the day's events. Actor Ricardo Chavira spoke of his experience as a teen, caring for his mother who eventually lost her battle with breast cancer. Television personality, breast cancer advocate and Sacramento native Rene Syler spoke at the rally about her decision to undergo a bi-lateral prophylactic mastectomy early last year, in part because both of her parents were diagnosed with breast cancer. Former WNBA player Edna Campbell spoke about her experience as a breast cancer survivor. Campbell was diagnosed while active on the Sacramento Monarchs, and is now a Komen Sacramento Affiliate board member and active in the local breast health community.

Today's events marked the 18th stop of the Komen Community Challenge, a nationwide campaign to elevate breast cancer on the national agenda and draw attention to disparities in breast cancer mortality. Many Americans -- racial and ethnic minorities, low-income women and those with little or no health insurance -- are less likely to receive quality cancer care and are more likely to die from the disease.

In the United States, a woman has about a 13 percent risk -- or one in eight -- of developing breast cancer in her lifetime. Low-income and uninsured women are more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, which is partly why their survival rates are much lower.

"Early detection of breast cancer is key to survival, and California's Every Woman Counts program serves women who would not otherwise be screened and treated -- saving an untold number of lives," said Donna Sanderson, executive director of the Sacramento Valley Affiliate of Komen for the Cure. "This program needs to serve many more eligible women, not just the 20 percent currently served."

To qualify for free screening and diagnostic services under Every Woman Counts, a woman must be age 40 or older, earn an income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty limit, and be uninsured or under-insured. Activists from California's seven Komen Affiliates met with their Assembly Members and State Senators today with the following requests:

-- An additional $12 million should be appropriated for California's

Every Woman Counts program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2009, so the program

can meet the needs of women who currently seek its services;

-- Beginning in FY2010 funding for Every Woman Counts should follow

Medi-Cal's lead and transition to being "case driven," or allocated on

a per-woman basis, and 10 percent of funding for the program should be

directed toward a public education campaign;

-- Eligibility for Every Woman Counts should be expanded to include

high-risk women who are age 38 and older; and

-- Like the Medi-Cal program, digital mammography services should be

covered under Every Woman Counts.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure has California Affiliates that serve Orange County, Central Valley, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, the Sacramento Valley, San Diego and the San Francisco Bay Area.

About the Sacramento Valley Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The Sacramento Valley Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure-along with those who generously support us with their talent, time and resources-is working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in our community. We join more than 100,000 breast cancer survivors and activists around the globe as part of the world's largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting breast cancer. Through events like the Komen Sacramento Race for the Cure, we have invested over $6.8 million in local breast health and breast cancer awareness projects in 17 Sacramento-area counties, since our inception in 1997. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds generated by the Komen Sacramento Affiliate stay in the Sacramento area. The remaining income goes to the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program for energizing science to find the cures. Join us by calling 916-492-6474 or visiting us online at

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world's largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure, we have invested nearly $1 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit or call 1-877 GO KOMEN (1-877-465-6636).

SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

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