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Rep. Denson testifies on bipartisan bill to improve breast cancer screenings

HB 371 would address racial health disparities, save lives
September 30, 2021
Sedrick Denson News

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COLUMBUS –Rep. Sedrick Denson (D-Cincinnati) today testified on House Bill (HB) 371, bipartisan legislation to improve breast cancer screenings through modernized technology.

HB 371 extends mammography coverage to include advanced screening with tomosynthesis (3D mammography). Furthermore, it requires Medicaid and commercial insurance plans to cover the cost of supplemental breast cancer screenings for adult women who have dense breast tissue or elevated risk for breast cancer. 

“We must fight for and empower women, specifically Black women who too often feel so marginalized by the medical system,” said Rep. Denson. “By improving the way we notify women with dense breast tissue and expanding what screenings are covered by insurance plans for women of all ages, this bill will improve access to supplemental screenings, as well as arm people with the necessary knowledge to get the breast cancer care they need sooner. For Black women, who are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive types and stages of breast cancer, this is critical.” 

African American women have the highest breast cancer mortality rate of any racial or ethnic group at 31 percent. The mortality rate for Black women diagnosed with breast cancer is over 40 percent higher than that of white women, despite white women having slightly higher rates of breast cancer.

HB 371 will also update the patient notification letter guidelines for women who have been classified to have dense breast tissue. By updating this notification, women will be made aware of the risk associated with dense breast tissue as well as the supplemental screenings that can be vital to the early detection of breast cancer.

The bill awaits further hearings in the House Families, Aging and Human Services Committee.