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Early Detection Saves Lives Coalition: Issues awards to lawmakers

Bipartisan Leaders Named Recipients of “Early Detection Life Saver Award”

[Madison, Wis.] – The Early Detection Saves Lives Coalition is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural Early Detection Life Saver Awards, recognizing lawmakers who demonstrated outstanding commitment to advancing legislation aimed at early detection of breast cancer during the 2023-24 legislative session. The coalition is comprised of leading health-focused organizations working in collaboration toward increased access to life saving breast cancer screenings. 

The Life Saver Awards will be presented bi-annually to legislators who have shown exemplary leadership and dedication in promoting policy that enhances access to supplemental and diagnostic breast examinations for those at increased risk of breast cancer.

“We are thrilled to honor this bipartisan group of lawmakers for their efforts in championing breast cancer awareness and early detection initiatives,” said Dawn Anderson, Chair of the Early Detection Saves Lives Coalition. “Their commitment to improving healthcare outcomes and saving lives through proactive legislative measures is truly commendable.”

The 49 award recipients reflect sponsors of SB 121 and AB 117 in the 2023-2024 session, which aimed at increasing access to advanced screenings for those with dense breasts and those at increased risk of breast cancer. The awards will be presented in honor of patient advocate Gail Zeamer, a champion for women’s health and a valued leader in the Early Detection Saves Lives Coalition who passed away recently following a long battle with breast cancer. Gail successfully advocated for a series of women’s health reforms, and the coalition continues its work in her honor.

The family of Gail Zeamer expressed appreciation for the lawmakers being recognized:

“Gail was a tireless advocate and moved the ball forward on key women’s health issues, and we’re pleased that these awards are being presented in her honor to other champions in the fight for health. Gail knew the importance of early detection, and looking forward, we hope that lawmakers come together again in bipartisan fashion to finally pass critical legislation that increases access to lifesaving screenings.”

Recipients of the Early Detection Life Saver Award:

Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevara Rep. Nate Gustafson Sen. Tim Carpenter
Sen. Dianne Hesselbein Sen. Jesse James Sen. Chris Larson
Sen. Brad Pfaff Sen. Kelda Roys Sen. Mark Spreitzer
(Former) Sen. Lena Taylor Sen. Robert Wirch Rep. Clinton Anderson
Rep. Jimmy Anderson Rep. Deb Andraca Rep. Samba Baldeh
Rep. Mike Bare Rep. Elijah Behnke Rep. Amy Binsfeld
Rep. Marisabel Cabrera Rep. Sue Conley Rep. Dave Considine
Rep. Barbara Dittrich Rep. Bob Donovan Rep. Jodi Emerson
Rep. Joy Goeben Rep. Rick Gundrum Rep. Kalan Haywood
Rep. Jenna Jacobson Rep. Alex Joers Rep. Scott Krug
Rep. John Macco Rep. Darrin Madison Rep. Paul Melotik
Rep. Supreme Moore Omokunde Rep. David Murphy Rep. Jeffrey Mursau
Rep. Jerry O’Connor Rep. Tod Ohnstad Rep. Sylvia Ortiz-Velez
Rep. Lori Palmeri Rep. Melissa Ratcliff Rep. Donna Rozar
Rep. Katrina Shankland Rep. Christine Sinicki Rep. Lee Snodgrass
Rep. John Spiros Rep. Lisa Subeck Rep. Ron Tusler
Rep. Robyn Vining    

Background:

During the 2023-24 legislative session, SB 121 and companion bill AB 117 were authored by Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevara (R-Appleton) and Rep. Nate Gustafson (R-Neenah) and built on the notification required in 2017 Act 201 that all facilities that perform mammograms must provide notice to patients with dense breast tissue. Nearly 40% of women have dense breast tissue, which is not easily detectable using a standard mammogram alone. Women with dense breast tissue are also 4-6x more likely to get breast cancer.

In Wisconsin, over 5,700 women are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone, and nearly 700 will die from the disease, according to the American Cancer Society. Early, effective detection of breast cancer saves lives and prevents debilitating costs for intensive, long-term treatments.

An early cancer diagnosis can reduce treatment costs by 2-4 times compared to a late-stage diagnosis. In states that have enacted similar legislation, insurance costs were estimated to increase minimally, ranging from $0.04-$0.07 per member per month – just $0.84 per year at most.

The Early Detection Saves Lives Coalition is dedicated to increasing critical access to essential breast cancer imaging in Wisconsin.

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