Letters to the Editor

Thanks to lawmakers for addressing the needs of women cancer patients | Letter

If a woman develops breast or cervical cancer, whether or not her life can be saved should not be determined by the size of her bank account. The new health care law addresses this inequity, but as the transition to it takes place, some women are in danger of slipping through the cracks.

Our concern for these vulnerable women motivated us to join the volunteers of the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for their Lobby Day in Olympia. With cancer survivors and caregivers, we met with legislators from all parts of the state to ask for the restoration of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program (BCCTP).

It was time well-spent. Our lawmakers told us how cancer had touched their lives and that they were interested in discussing continued funding for the BCCTP.

For nearly two decades, the BCCTP has enabled uninsured and underinsured women to be screened for breast and cervical cancer, and for those diagnosed with cancer to receive health care coverage to treat their cancer. When the legislature adjourned, we were delighted to learn that the BCCTP was included in the final budget.

We especially applaud Sen. Andy Hill and Rep. Ross Hunter for putting a high priority on the needs of women cancer patients in the state of Washington. It is reassuring to know that even during contentious times in Olympia, there are level-headed and sensible elected officials who do what it takes to ensure that no woman with cervical or breast cancer is denied care based on the size of her bank account.

Mary-Claire King, Ph.D., American Cancer Society, professor of medicine and genome sciences, University of Washington

Eunice Hostetter, volunteer, American Cancer Society, Cancer Action Network, Kirkland


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