Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C.: The American College of Surgeons (ACS) strongly supports the Find it Early Act (H.R. 3086), which would require health insurance plans to cover screening and diagnostic breast imaging, including mammograms, ultrasounds and breast ultrasounds, and MRIs with no cost-sharing for patients.

In a letter to Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), the ACS outlined how expanded insurance access for breast imaging is a key step toward preventing late-stage diagnoses of breast cancer, which have a worse survival rate than breast cancers diagnosed at an early stage.

“I would like to express our strong support for the Find it Early Act,” Patricia L. Turner, MD, MBA, FACS, Executive Director & CEO of the ACS wrote in the ACS support letter. “Because many insurance plans do not cover additional types of screening needed due to breast density, family history, or for any other reason, many patients may forego these tests and risk later-stage diagnosis.”

Increased breast density is one factor that may raise a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer.

Earlier this year, the Food and Drug Administration announced it would roll out its breast density notification rule, which would require providers to notify mammography patients with dense breasts of their status and the potential need for further screening to detect any breast cancer, beginning in 2024. In May 2023, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued new recommendations for mammography screening for breast cancer that lowered the age at which people should start screening from 50 to 40 years old. However, the USPSTF did not provide a specific recommendation that individuals with dense breasts receive additional screening, such as ultrasounds or MRIs. Therefore, many insurance plans are not required to cover additional screening for people with dense breasts.

A delay can have serious consequences. Breast cancer found at an early stage has a 5-year survival rate of 99%, whereas breast cancer found at a later stage has 5-year survival rate of under 30%.

The Find it Early Act was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year and has 24 bipartisan cosponsors. The ACS will continue to work with lawmakers to pass this important legislation.

Read the ACS letter in support of the Find it Early Act.

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About the American College of Surgeons

The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has approximately 90,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. “FACS” designates that a surgeon is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.