2021, Volume 4
PBCC, Sen. Majority Leader Kim Ward Launch Statewide Mammogram Campaign PBCC President Pat Halpin-Murphy is joined by WellSpan Health CEO Roxanna Gapstur and Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward at the Capitol
he PA Breast Cancer Coalition, in partnership with PA Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward (R-39) and WellSpan Health, launched a statewide public service announcement campaign in October. Our mission: to ensure all Pennsylvania women schedule annual 3D mammograms that could save their lives! Thousands of women missed mammograms during the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to delayed breast cancer diagnoses. The partnership produced video and radio PSAs that aired across the state, sharing the importance of screenings and early detection.
The PBCC announced a FREE Mobile Mammography event October 26 at WellSpan Health in York. All screening costs were covered for this special event by the Coalition.
Pennsylvania senators participate in the campaign kick-off
. m ra g o m m a m r u yo s is m ’t n o D
It could save your life. When detected at its earliest stage, the 5-year survival rate for breast cancer is 99 percent. Schedule your mammogram!
FROM THE DESK OF PBCC PRESIDENT PAT HAL PIN -MU RPH Y
and insurance denial For years, you shared your breast MRI bills e would be behind letters. We all waited for the day when this issu MRIs and ultrasounds us and insurance would cover screenings like ding very dense breasts. for those of us with high-risk conditions, inclu That day will soon be here!
insurance policy expires, the new version will Beginning January 1, 2022, as your existing ds for women insured under Pennsylvania be required to cover breast MRIs and ultrasoun stop those exorbitant MRI screening bills, law with high-risk conditions.* In order to work, we were able to pass a bill (PA thanks to Senator Bob Mensch and your hard Senate Bill 595, Act 52) in 2020. Pennsylvania and YOUR outreach to your This is a great victory for the women of nk you for your hard work and persistence. legislators helped to make it happen! Tha Take action. Save lives! Warmest regards,
*co-pays, deductibles and co-insurance may
SENATE BILL 595 for
Act 52 of 2020
Breast MRI and Ultrasound Coverage
requires insurers to cover breast MRIs & ultrasounds for women with:
a personal history of breast cancer
a genetic predisposition
a family history of breast cancer
heterogenously* or extremely dense breasts
*heterogenously dense breast tissue with 1 additional high-risk factor
YORK COUNTY When did you first learn you were facing breast cancer? TERESA: It was February 2021, I found my own lump. I was 37 and had no risk factors or family history, so I would not have had a mammogram for another 3 years. I had just had a breast exam 5 months prior where my OBGYN did not feel anything of concern. Thankfully, I did my selfexam and followed up with my doctor. I feel very lucky that I was paying attention and decided to get it checked out. How did that news affect you and your family? TERESA: At first, it turned my world upside down. I was afraid to tell my 7-year-old daughter because I know that the word “cancer” is scary for anyone, let alone a child. When I found out for sure what the treatment plan would look like, we explained it to her and she was incredible. She also had a teacher at the time who is a breast cancer survivor. Her teacher was an absolute godsend to our family, especially my daughter as we navigated this road. As a Mom, we are the caregivers - we take care of our family, and I felt like I may become a burden (yes, I used that word) to my family. My husband and my mother made it clear to me that they were there to support me through every step of the way. For us, it wasn’t just my treatment that felt heavy - we also have a 6-year-old son with special needs who requires constant attention and has many appointments on his own. My husband and my Mom
were there throughout my treatment to fill the role that I would normally take, on days when I was either receiving an infusion, radiation or recovering from a chemo cycle. What was it like receiving treatment during a pandemic? TERESA: Being immunocompromised during a pandemic is very scary. Possibly the scariest part of my chemo treatment was when I learned I contracted Covid-19 right before my last chemo infusion. Thankfully, I was able to get fully vaccinated before I started chemotherapy and I believe that was why I had a very mild case. What are you most proud of? TERESA: Selfishly, I am proud that I did my self-exam and followed up with a mammogram even though I was terrified to find out something was wrong. But I am most proud of sharing my story publicly in hopes of helping save the lives of others. It is not easy to be open about all the ugliness of cancer, but if it helps get other women to do self-exams and never skip a mammogram, or just to know their bodies and put their health first, then I will share it all. What are you most grateful for? TERESA: I always think this is weird to say, but I’m grateful for cancer. It has given me a chance to look at life through a different lens. During chemo, I promised myself to never take a day for granted where I can get out of bed without pain, or have energy to run in the backyard with my children. I’m grateful that I found my tumor early and have the opportunity to share my story. What’s your message to newly diagnosed women? TERESA: My breast surgeon, Dr. Michael Reilly, gave me great advice that I have shared with many because I think it is so valuable. He said that if I could, to try to compartmentalize the days when I have appointments and treatments, surgeries - anything that had to do with cancer - I called them “cancer days.” That simple advice reminded me that I still have a life to live outside of cancer. Every moment of my life did not have to be consumed by my diagnosis.
It’s the largest single Grassroots Partner contribution in PBCC history! Mid Penn Bank CEO Rory Ritrievi kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by presenting President Pat Halpin-Murphy with a check for $125,000! The generous gift will help us to fund cutting-edge breast cancer research right here in Pennsylvania. Thank you, Rory and the Mid Penn Bank staff, volunteers, golfers, sponsors and donors for making a huge impact in the fight against breast cancer!
Bucks Valley Winery and Vineyard hosted its 7th Annual Toasting a Cure at the Vineyard this summer. Thank you to Helen Michener, Laraine Forry, event sponsors and attendees for another incredible year!
3 1. Rohrerstown Elementary - $240 2. Toasting a Cure at the Vineyard - $27,600 3. Breaststroke 4 Breast Cancer (3 bottom photos) - $27,000
Our driving force is the ladies and families we meet. Their stories touch our hearts and we just want to keep going.
Kathy Brown Westmoreland Walks
Celebrating 20 years! Congratulations to our first-ever Grassroots Partner, Westmoreland Walks, Inc., for two decades of support and advocacy. The PBCC is honored to be the beneficiary of the Pink Ribbon Walk - over $600,000 contributed to breast cancer research since 2001! Thank you, Westmoreland Walks!
8 4. CJ’s Tire & Auto - $11,875 5. Harrisburg Academy - $500 7. Golf Fore a Cure - $36,405 7. Field of Screams Zombie Fun Run - $8,100 8. Parx Casino - $11,940 9. Red Devil Youth League - $4,000 10. Lancaster Plumbing, Heating and Cooling - $2,250 for more photos, follow Facebook.com/PABreastCancer!
SCREENING COVERAGE STUDY
Laws Requiring Dense Breast Screening Coverage May Help Early Detection Alison Chetlen, DO
Professor, Department of Radiology, Division of Breast Imaging Penn State Health
n our recently published manuscript “Association Between Dense Breast Legislation and Cancer Stage at Diagnosis” published in American Journal of Preventative Medicine, we studied the impact of the varied state legislation and insurance coverage on the stage of cancer at diagnosis. Dense breast tissue is highly prevalent among women, with more than forty percent of women in the U.S. aged 40–74 years having either extremely dense breast tissue or heterogeneously dense breast tissue. Higher breast density is an independent risk factor for breast cancer, and supplemental screening is recommended for women with dense breasts. Many states have passed laws requiring that women be notified by providers if their mammogram shows dense breasts, and some of those states require insurance companies to provide coverage for supplemental cancer screenings for women with dense breasts. Because of the variability of the mandated breast density notification and insurance coverage for additional screening, the association between legislation
and the stage of diagnosis for breast cancer was unclear. Our study therefore investigated this association and examined the differential impacts among different age, racial, and ethnicity subgroups. We looked at over 689,000 cases of American women with breast cancer aged 40-74 over a span of eleven years. We evaluated the odds of that woman being
Women aged 40-49 had 12% lower odds of being diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer in states like PA with laws requiring insurers to cover supplemental screenings.
diagnosed at different stages of cancer relative to the localized stage depending on types of legislation in their respective states. Overall, the impact of notification legislation was not significant, whereas insurance coverage legislation was associated with 6%
PENNSYLVANIA’S BREAST DENSITY LAWS
Requires Pennsylvania mammography centers to notify women of their breast density level
ACT 86 OF 2013
Requires insurers to cover breast MRI, ultrasound for women insured under Pennsylvania law with high-risk factors
ACT 52 OF 2020
lower odds of being diagnosed at the regional stage. Although insurance coverage legislation as significantly associated with lower odds of being diagnosed at a regional stage than at the localized stage for all age groups, the association between insurance coverage legislation and stage of diagnosis was even stronger among younger women aged 40–49 years, with 11% lower odds of being diagnosed at the regional stage and
12% lower odds of being diagnosed at the distant stage. Hispanic women benefited from notification laws, with 11% lower odds of being diagnosed at distant stage. Neither notification nor supplemental screening insurance coverage legislation showed a substantial impact on Black women. The findings imply that improving insurance coverage is more important than being notified overall. Raising awareness is important among Hispanic women. Improving communication about dense breasts and access to screening might be more important than legislation among Black women. We still have work to do to educate and advocate so that all women have the information they need to make the best choices for their breast health.
October 2021 We kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month by turning the State Capitol Fountain PINK with a powerful message: Schedule your mammogram! It could save your life.
The State Capitol East Wing Fountain turns pink each October in celebration of all Pennsylvania breast cancer survivors. The fountain is also a symbol of hope for women facing breast cancer and a place of reflection for Pennsylvania families who have lost loved ones to breast cancer.
President Pat Halpin-Murphy is surrounded by voices of action in the fight against breast cancer. Thank you to Mid Penn Bank CEO Rory Ritrievi, PA Senate Majority Leader Kim Ward, PA House Minority Leader Jessica McClinton, Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam and AmeriHealth Caritas Market President Marge Angello for turning the fountain pink with us!
Breast cancer survivor and PBCC Dauphin County Captain Joyce Ashe poses for a photo in front of the pink fountain October 5, 2021. Joyce volunteers at PBCC events and shares her own story to help other women across the state. Want to help women in your community? Become a County Captain! Visit pbcc.me/CC
he PA Breast Cancer Coalition’s photo exhibit traveled to three counties in 2021: Philadelphia, Erie and Lancaster. The exhibit, in partnership with the PA Department of Health, shares the importance of mammograms and early detection across the state.
- Jackie Ricords, PBCC Photo Exhibit participant View our online exhibit visit pbccexhibit.org
Host the exhibit in your community! visit pbcc.me/host
2397 Quentin Road, Suite B, Lebanon, PA 17042 800-377-8828 PABreastCancer.org
PA BREAST CANCER COALITION ON DEMAND
2021 VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
Still available! Register (for O FREE) now at pbcc.me/conference up to 10 free continuing education credits available for nurses!
TIS THE SEASON TO BE
Thank you for moving our mission forward all year long. We wish you a season of hope, comfort and togetherness. from our family to yours