Murphy and Mulroe work to increase early detection of breast cancer

murphy mulroe 101017 Democratic state senators Laura Murphy and John G. Mulroe are working to reduce the rate of breast cancer in Illinois by passing legislation that removes barriers to early detection and advanced medical care.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. According to a study by the Illinois Department of Public Health, 26 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Illinois every day.

Murphy, of Des Plaines, proposed a measure earlier this year that requires insurance companies to cover an MRI if a patient is diagnosed with dense breast tissue. Studies show that dense breast tissue can be up to six times more likely to develop cancer. An MRI can find an additional 8 percent of breast cancers that go undetected by mammograms and ultrasounds.

The measure became law and will go into effect Jan. 1, 2018.

“Early detection is a key element in the fight against breast cancer,” Murphy said. “By requiring insurance companies to cover MRIs in patients with dense breast tissue, we are arming doctors with another tool to help them detect breast cancer sooner.”

In July 2016, a law sponsored by Mulroe requiring insurance companies to begin covering 3D mammograms went into effect. This technology, also known as tomosynthesis, takes a multidimensional view of the breast during a screening, rather than a single-dimension view.

As a result, 3D mammography more accurately screens for breast cancer than standard mammography. It is especially effective in dense breast tissue where cancer signs are often missed.

“I believe this law will help save lives through early detection,” said Mulroe, of Chicago. “I encourage women and at-risk men to review their early detection plans and to take advantage of the technological advances in 3D mammography.”

Experts agree that early detection is a key to survival. Statistics show that 99 percent of people diagnosed with breast cancer during the early stages reach a five-year relative survival rate.

Nationally, one in every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s the second leading cause of cancer death in women.