Oropeza introduces bill to protect state program on breast cancer diagnosis

Jan 03, 2010
Ray Sotero @ (916) 651-4028 or (916) 834-1128

SACRAMENTO –The end of 2009 brought unfortunate news to women across the state, and Sen. Jenny Oropeza hopes to reverse that trend in 2010 with her first bill of the year.

First, the Preventive Services Task Force sparked a national uproar when it recommended early last month that women at low risk for breast cancer undergo regular mammograms beginning at age 50. The previous recommendation was age 40.

Weeks later, the California Department of Public Health announced that the state’s Every Woman Counts program, which provides free clinical breast exams and mammograms to California’s underserved women, will suspend new enrollments for breast cancer screening services Jan. 1 through July 2, 2010. It also changed the eligibility age for breast cancer screening services to 50 and older.

“The decision to suspend screening is a slap at California’s low-income women,” Oropeza, D-Long Beach, said after introducing Senate Bill 836. “Those who can least afford help in detecting and fighting this deadly disease are the ones most affected.”

SB 836 would restore access to free screening and diagnostic services to low-income women. It also would require that breast cancer screening services be provided to all individuals exhibiting symptoms, regardless of age, and to individuals 40 and older.

“Early detection has proven to save lives,” said Oropeza, who’s SB 148, making make mammograms safer, took effect Jan. 1. “Because breast cancer is one of the deadliest cancers, it is essential that state policymakers fight to help our most vulnerable communities.”

SPECIAL NOTE: The office of Sen. Oropeza can provide a Spanish-speaking representative to comment on this Press Release.