In a teleconference recognizing national mammography day, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the Affordable Care Act has established an advisory committee at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that directs the Atlanta-based agency to develop initiatives to increase the knowledge of breast cancer among young women.
Breast-cancer advisory panel announced
The CDC on Friday said it invited 15 individuals to serve on the new Advisory Committee on Breast Cancer in Young Women, which will develop these initiatives, particularly for women under 40 and at heightened risk for developing the disease.
“From prevention research, to education for health professionals, to designing and promoting awareness activities for the public, we look forward to working with the committee to educate providers, patients and young women about breast cancer prevention and treatments,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a news release.
Sebelius led the conference call with Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden. In 1993—the same year she learned that four of her friends were diagnosed with the deadly disease—Jill Biden established the Biden Breast Health Initiative, a not-for-profit organization that provides educational breast health awareness programs to schools and other groups in the state of Delaware. About 10,000 high school girls have been educated through the initiative, Biden said on the call.
In a news release in early October, which is breast cancer awareness month, Sebelius highlighted some of the other benefits the Affordable Care Act provides. She reiterated those on the call before she introduced two breast-cancer survivors who talked about their experiences with the illness. Included in the act is a requirement that if a woman or her family is enrolled in a new health plan on or after Sept. 23, 2010, that plan will be required to cover mammograms starting at age 40. Also starting this year, the act prohibits insurance companies from imposing lifetime dollar limits on essential benefits, which will help women get the care they need. And, beginning in January 2011, Medicare beneficiaries will be allowed to get mammograms without a co-payment. More than 100 American women die each day from breast cancer, Sebelius said, and survival rates are as high as 98% after five years if the disease is detected early.
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