Breast Cancer Action Month – October 30, 2022

October is coming to a close and so is Breast Cancer Action Month.

If the month slipped away from you, do not fret! There is one very simple thing you can do.

Please go to this link and click Take Action. The form will send a message to your elected federal officials (Senators and your Representative) asking them to support two bills I hope Congress will pass. You will need to enter your street address so they can find your elected Representative.

Right now those of us diagnosed with MBC (a terminal illness) have to wait a minimum of 5 months to receive disability assistance through Social Security, and, you have to wait 2 years to qualify for Medicare.

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (House bill 3183 and Senate bill 1312) would eliminate the 5-month Social Security Disability Waiting Period and the subsequent 24-month Medicare waiting period for individuals with metastatic breast cancer.

The second bill is the Cancer Drug Parity Act (House bill 4385 and Senate bill 3080). In a nutshell, this bill requires insurance plans to cover cancer medications taken at home instead of at a cancer center/hospital. For example, I’m on an oral medication that I take at home – Ibrance. Right now, insurance companies are not required to approve – or pay for – cancer medications that are taken at home.

I know this might seem overwhelming if you are not used to looking at bills and legislation. Please know that many individuals are dedicated to making it easy for us all to participate in our democracy and let our elected officials know what is important.

On a personal note, I see the oncologist later this week. I had scans last week and will learn at my next appointment if the medications are keeping the cancer quiet. More soon.

Oh, and don’t forget to go vote!

February 21, 2022 – Help me take action

Living with cancer shines a light on many things that the average person is not aware of.

In America, our health insurance is largely tied to our jobs. If you get a cancer diagnosis you may not be able to work and therefore lose your insurance. The irony is that when you need insurance most, it’s hardest to get.

Did you know that If you have stage 4 breast cancer and need Medicare there is a 24-month waiting period? There is also a 5-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Statistics on how long people survive with stage 4 breast cancer is unclear*. Previous statistics showed the average survival rate was 2-3 years. Yet there is a 24 month waiting period to get Medicare coverage. See the math problem here?

You can help me get the attention of lawmakers. It doesn’t even require a phone call.

The Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (S. 1312/H.R. 3183) would amend the Social Security Act to eliminate waiting periods for social security disability insurance benefits (SSDI) and Medicare coverage for eligible individuals with metastatic breast cancer.

You can support this act by filling out this online form. It will generate a letter to your elected representatives. I just did this and it took all of 5 minutes. Click on the text below.

*Survival rates for stage 4 breast cancer is messy. The introduction of CDK 4/6 inhibitors in 2015 was a game changer. It increased life expectancy significantly. In addition, people diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer are not counted in national statistics until they succumb to the disease. That is another post by itself.