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22 June 2022

Contact: Kevin McGuire, 202-538-2386 (mobile)

Bipartisan legislation will provide regular breast and cervical cancer screenings to underinsured and low-income patients

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán (CA-44), along with her colleagues Congressman Joe Morelle (NY-25), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), and Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), introduced the bipartisan Screening for Communities to Receive Early and Equitable Needed Services (SCREENS) for Cancer Act, which would reauthorize and strengthen the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) through 2027, allowing more people to access screening services. At its current funding levels, NBCCEDP can serve only 15% of women eligible for screening. 

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is devastating news for any family to hear,” said Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragan.  “However, with regular screenings, cancer can be detected early and allow for more treatment options and recovery. For over 30 years, the CDC’s National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program has provided lifesaving breast cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, or underinsured people. It has helped increased life expectancy for millions of women across the nation. Right here in my district, programs like Every Woman Counts provides free and low-cost screening for underserved communities. I am proud to join my colleagues in the House and Senate to introduce this critical and necessary bill to improving funding, outreach, and access to potentially lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screening services.”

“Too many families across America know the pain of receiving a cancer diagnosis. Nearly 300,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and another 14,000 will be diagnosed with cervical cancer this year,” said Rep. Joe Morelle. “My daughter, Lauren, battled breast cancer for two years with incredible courage, sharing her story and underscoring the importance of early detection. I’m proud to carry on her legacy by helping all women access the critical cancer screening services they need, regardless of their income—so fewer families will suffer the unimaginable loss of a loved one.”

“Early testing for cancer saves lives and I am proud to sponsor this bipartisan and bicameral legislation” said Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, Co-Chair of the Congressional Cancer Caucus. “The SCREENS Act will allow for better access to cancer screenings for women across the country. This life-saving legislation is a step in the right direction at putting an end to cancer deaths.”

“Cancer plagues every corner of the country, but with proper screening and treatment, lives can be saved, and families can continue to be whole,” said Senator Tammy Baldwin. “The NBCCEDP has a proven track record of providing preventative and diagnostic cancer services nationwide, saving patients and taxpayers money, and most importantly, saving lives. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to help folks get the cancer screening and treatment they need and help save lives.”

The National Cancer Institute estimates screening delays will result in over 2,500 breast cancer deaths by 2030 due to the COVID-19 pandemic drastically reducing screenings by over 80%.  The NBCCEDP conducts potentially lifesaving breast and cervical cancer screenings to low-income, underinsured, and uninsured patients who do not qualify for Medicaid. This legislation will enhance NBCCEDP’s funding and strengthen outreach and accessibility to underserved communities, helping diagnose and potentially cure cancer before it’s too late.

The National Breast Cancer Institute indicates that every year, over 2,000 women in Los Angeles County will be diagnosed with breast cancer. By having regular screenings, patients and medical professionals can catch diagnoses early and provide potentially lifesaving treatment.  

Nanette Diaz Barragán is proud to represent California’s 44th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Carson, Compton, Florence-Firestone, Lynwood, North Long Beach, Rancho Dominguez, San Pedro, South Gate, Walnut Park, Watts, Willowbrook and Wilmington. She serves as chairwoman of the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border Security, and on the House Energy and Commerce Health, Energy, and Environment & Climate Change Subcommittees.