Today is World Cancer Day! It’s a day that unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer. Here at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition, we are dedicated to fighting breast cancer every day and YOU can help us! Want to know how? Make this World Cancer Day a day to take action:
Schedule your annual mammogram and/or tell a friend to do the same
- We’re all busy, but not too busy to know the importance of early detection. By scheduling your mammogram, you’re taking time to ensure you are healthy and that is more than worth it. It could save your life! P.S. While you’re there, check to see if you have dense breast tissue and, if you do, ask about supplemental screenings beyond the regular mammogram like ultrasounds, MRIs or tomosynthesis (3D mammograms). FREE mammograms are available in PA. Click here to find learn more.
Request a FREE Friends Like Me Care Package for a loved one recently diagnosed with breast cancer
- The PA Breast Cancer Coalition offers free care packages full of information, educational materials, books, small gifts and headwraps for women in Pennsylvania who have recently been diagnosed with breast cancer (packages are most helpful within the first 6 months). If you have been diagnosed or you know someone who has been, click here to request a free package today.
Support life-saving legislation in Pennsylvania
- The PA Breast Cancer Coalition worked with Sen. Bob Mensch to pass the Breast Density Notification Act requiring mammography centers to notify women of their breast density. Now, we are working on Senate Bill 842 which would require supplemental screenings like MRIs or ultrasounds to be covered for women insured in PA. Those screenings may show something that may be missed on a traditional 2D mammogram. What can YOU do? Contact your state senator and ask him/her to support this important bill! Click here to find your lawmaker and contact information. Click here to read Senate Bill 842.
Help researchers find a cure
- Time to start talking taxes again! This year, why not put that state income tax refund to good use? Every Pennsylvania taxpayer has the option to donate all or part of their state income tax refund on Line 32 directly to Pennsylvania breast cancer researchers. Choose code “A” and your refund will go toward our PBCC Breast Cancer Research grants Initiative. We have pledged $300,000 in grants this year alone. Make a difference with us!
- Didn’t get a refund? Make a private donation to the PBCC today! Click here to donate now.
Volunteer or become a PBCC Grassroots Partner!
- The PBCC is always looking for volunteers across the state! Whether it’s a few hours once a year or you are looking for something more involved, we have an opportunity for you! Click here to view our opportunities and learn more today. Looking to do even more? Become a Grassroots Partner and host your own event in your community. Click here to find out how you can give back and make a difference for women and families in Pennsylvania.
Did you take action today? Share it on Facebook and Twitter with us!
by Pat Halpin-Murphy, President and Founder
You may recall, in October, the American Cancer Society (ACS) issued new mammography guidelines which raised concerns, especially for us here at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition. The ACS recommendations suggest women begin annual mammograms at age 45 and every other year beginning at age 55. The PA Breast Cancer Coalition believes that starting mammograms at 40 is the gold standard. Another concern with the ACS recommendations was the possibility that insurance companies could use the guidelines as an opportunity to eliminate free mammograms for many women.
We know that Pennsylvania insurance agency representatives have already indicated their desire to roll back PA’s guarantee of free mammograms for state-insured women.
In response, Dr. Richard Wender, Chief Cancer Control Officer for the American Cancer Society sent a letter addressing our concerns to the PA Secretary of Health and PA Insurance Commissioner, clarifying the intent of the latest mammography guidelines.
The letter further explains the ACS recommendations, stressing the importance of a woman’s consultation with her doctor. The PBCC applauds and thanks the American Cancer Society for adressing these concerns, for providing a more in-depth explanation of its screening guidelines and for making it clear that they, in no way, support removing current insurance coverage for women 40 to 45 in our state.
Read the complete letter from Dr. Richard Wender on behalf of the American Cancer Society here.
UPDATE: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released its latest mammography guidelines, recommending women begin screening at age 50. The PBCC strongly diagrees. Click here to read our press release.
At our October Conference, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to include 3D mammogram coverage at no cost to women insured under PA law. Now, effective December 5, 3D mammograms are also available at no cost to women covered by Medicaid in our state. Incredible good news!
The PBCC spoke with Deputy Secretary of the Office of Medical Assistance Programs Leesa Allen about what you need to know and what this means for women’s health care Pennsylvania. Click the play button below to learn more:
Survivor Heidi Kelly makes beautiful handbags. This month, she is donating a portion of her sales to the PBCC!
Heidi Kelly, Berks County
Four years ago I saw something on my breast … not a lump, a dent. I thought it was a bruise but it wasn’t going away. After a while I kind of knew what it was but I didn’t want to think about it. At that time Giuliana Rancic of E! Entertainment News was going through breast cancer treatment and whenever I saw her I thought maybe I should go get this checked…
When I finally told my husband he freaked out. Michael’s mom had breast cancer and he stayed up half the night talking to his sisters who are in the medical field. He called my doctor in the morning and said we’re going to get this checked. I didn’t want to go because it was our anniversary and I didn’t want to ruin the day.
I had a biopsy and a few days later it was confirmed that I had breast cancer. My husband did the research because reading about it made me too upset. The surgeon wanted to save my breasts but I didn’t want them. I just wanted to get rid of them. I had a double mastectomy and full reconstruction. Then I went on my merry way and was good for two years. Two years almost to the day I found a lump on my scar which the plastic surgeon at first thought might be a suture, but the result was breast cancer again.
During this time, I was sewing and learning how to make handbags. I was using other people’s patterns and then I started creating my own patterns. Strangers on the street started complimenting me on them and whenever I posted photos of the bags on Facebook friends would ask for them. Michael said we might want to try to turn this into a business and HKelly designs was born. Whenever I felt good enough I was sewing. My sewing machine became my therapist. This month, I’m selling handmade items on my website with proceeds going to the PA Breast Cancer Coalition!
This experience taught me that I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. I’ve always been considered an emotional type who cries at TV commercials. I was outspoken though about my breast cancer and several friends had mammograms after I talked about it openly with them. My new motto is live life now; don’t wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow might not come and not necessarily because of breast cancer. Be the individual who you are. Keeping in mind that tomorrow might not come, my husband and I travel all the time now. Las Vegas is a favorite place; in fact, we were married there in 2007 and we’ve gone back twice this year. We were in Italy last spring and we are headed to Alaska next spring!
To check out Heidi’s designs, click here.
StringsforaCURE is offering a $1,000 Educational Scholarship to help an Erie County student whose family has been touched by a breast cancer diagnosis.
The award is a one time, non-renewable scholarship in the amount of $1,000. Payment will be made payable directly to the winner’s selected post graduate institution. Applicants should be graduating in May/June 2016 from an Erie County high school, charter school, or home school and live within a 60-mile radius of Erie PA.
Entries must be received by April 30, 2016.
For the application and further details, click here.
Pictured in photo: Organizer Stephanie Lux with her daughter Brooke Bosley, James Stonebraker, Sr., Kristen Snoke of the PBCC and Deena Pace.
Players, parents and patrons of Fastpitch for a Purpose came together in a huge way this past October, knocking it out of the park for the 4th consecutive year. Led by coordinator and creator, Stephanie Lux, this event raised $12,500 for the PBCC’s programs and services to help breast cancer survivors!
Every year, Stephanie rallies the youth in Shrewsbury, York County, to team up in the battle against breast cancer. Girls ages 8-18 play in this 2-day softball tournament, many of them in honor of a loved one who has been touched by breast cancer. The girls leave feeling inspired and passionate about the cause, knowing that they made a difference by doing something as simple as playing a game that they love.
Since 2012, this incredible community-wide fundraiser has contributed over $40,000 to the PBCC and helped spread awareness regarding our free resources. If you would like to get involved with this event, please visit their Facebook page here, and save the date for this year’s tournament: October 1-2, 2016!
By Pat Halpin-Murphy, President & Founder
Have you heard? Not only are 3D mammograms covered for women insured under Pennsylvania law, they are now covered for women insured by PA Medicaid. As of December 1, 2015, PA Medicaid participants are eligible to receive 3D mammograms at the same coverage level as traditional 2D mammograms.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, “tomosynthesis (3D mammograms) is becoming more common as many health care facilities in this Commonwealth are replacing 2D mammography technology with 3D mammography technology, offering new opportunities to diagnose breast cancer and providing life-saving treatment earlier than ever.”
Thanks to the commitment of Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf, Pennsylvania became the first state in the nation to consider 3D mammograms exactly what they are: mammograms. On October 5, 2015 at the PA Breast Cancer Coalition Conference, First Lady Frances Wolf announced that insurers must cover 3D mammograms at no cost to women over the age of 40. The move clarifies an existing law that the PA Breast Cancer Coalition worked to pass in the 1990s.
Thanks to YOUR help, 3D mammograms are now covered for women insured by PA Medicaid. As of October 5, 2015, insurers covered under state law are also offering 3D mammogram coverage. We’re honored to take action with you!
You. YOU are the reason the PA Breast Cancer Coalition is able to help breast cancer survivors, support their families, advocate for the women of Pennsylvania and award research grants to outstanding scientists in our state.
Grassroots Partners continue to amaze us with their creative ways to make an impact. You’ve organized walks, dress-down days, football games, tea parties – even a boatload of bras! You’ve opened the doors to your restaurants, car dealerships, banks, grocery stores and everywhere in between to further our mission of finding a cure for breast cancer now… so our daughters won’t have to. For that, we thank you. Women facing breast cancer, families and researchers thank you, too for making a difference.
Grassroots Partners – you ROCK! Watch the video below as we salute the 2015 Grassroots Partners: