Nebraska bill would provide mammograms for women at higher risk of breast cancer

LB145 would put focus on increased screening and earlier detection.
A bill in the Nebraska Legislature would expand breast cancer screening.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 5:33 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - There are new efforts by a Nebraska lawmaker to give women more options when it comes to screening for breast cancer.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer for women in Nebraska by a wide margin. Nationally, one in eight women will be diagnosed.

Early cancer screening can save lives. That’s the point for the senator behind the bill, Eliot Bostar of Lincoln.

The idea is to get insurance to widen the net when it comes to covering more of the screening tools. Many of those who testified shared personal stories.

“Not for me, but the women who come after me, and specifically for my 18-year-old daughter,” said Tanya Martin-Dick of Lincoln.

Tanya, a cancer survivor, urged lawmakers to expand breast cancer screening options.

“We were shocked to find out that I had in my dense breast tissue, a tumor that was 3.2 by 4 centimeters. It had gone undetected on mammograms for the prior four years. Obviously, this completely changed the trajectory of the case.”

Shawn McCarville’s mother died of breast cancer when she was six. Because of that, her chances of getting it are off the charts.

So, McCarville goes in for an MRI twice a year. And it’s expensive - insurance doesn’t pick up the tab because she’s just 24 years old.

“I had to pay $1,800 every six months out of pocket. I was willing to go into debt so my family wouldn’t have to go through this like they did for my mother.”

LB145 would entitle anyone 40 and older to a mammogram, and for those under 40 with a family history of breast cancer.

It would increase access to MRIs and ultrasounds at any age for those at high risk.

“For women at high risk, with a family history and dense breast tissue, LB145 is a game changer,” said Laura Schabloske with the Nebraska Cancer Coalition.

No one spoke in opposition to the bill. However, a couple of lobbyists connected to the insurance industry testified as neutral.

They raised questions about if the screening tools are required, and it would likely impact the cost of insurance.