New law will allow for faster breast cancer diagnosis, save lives
Elmhurst… Demonstrating her commitment to improving women’s health outcomes, and recognizing the importance of early detection to achieve positive patient outcomes, State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) championed legislation this year to provide greater access to enhanced breast screenings for all Illinois residents.
“Regular mammograms are key to early breast cancer detection. But traditional mammogram technology sometimes cannot handle dense breast tissue. This new law obligates insurance companies to cover more advanced technology, comprehensive ultrasound screenings, when that occurs,” Mazzochi explained. When ultrasound technology is available to patients, diagnoses can be made quicker, and if needed, treatment can begin sooner.
“This new law will save lives,” said Mazzochi. “Days and weeks can be vital when patients are facing a possible breast cancer diagnosis, and ensuring medical personnel can use heightened imaging technology without fear of insurance problems will generate better long-term health outcomes.”
Mazzochi pointed to a Mayo Clinic study that indicated that 50% of women have either partially or extremely dense breast tissue, rendering traditional mammograms more difficult to read. “Insurers will now cover comprehensive ultrasound screenings when a doctor determines that a mammogram demonstrates dense breast tissue,” Mazzochi said. “Insurance companies can no longer deny or delay approval of ultrasound use. Half of all women undergoing screening can benefit from this law.”
Representative Mazzochi’s professional career has touched on multiple aspects of the medical field. Having lost several family members to cancer, she is passionate about lowering barriers that keep Illinois residents from accessing early cancer screening. Mazzochi vowed to also continue her work on an additional bill, HB3177, designed to streamline the process for adults to secure prostate and colorectal exams. Mazzochi thanked the Susan G. Komen Foundation for their incredible work and support to bring the law to fruition, noting that “this bill would not be possible without their advocacy.”
The new law is listed in the Illinois Statutes as Public Act 101- 0580. The provisions of the new law take effect on January 1, 2020.