Breast Cancer Survivor Weighs in on Fiorello Vote


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To the Editor:

There was so much that was objectionable about State Rep. Kimberly Fiorello’s letter attempting to justify her vote against expanding breast cancer screening to include women 35-40, I almost don’t know where to start. To emphasize how egregious her no vote was, she was one of only three legislators to oppose the bill.

First, according to a clinical review published in the Journal of Oncology Practice, breast cancer is the number one cancer among women under the age of 40, accounting for 30% of all cancers in this age group. And those under 40 who are diagnosed with breast cancer are more likely to present with aggressive subtypes and advanced disease. 

Second, the saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” absolutely holds true when it comes to breast cancer. And to suggest that expanding preventive screening to more people is driving up the cost of premiums is absurd on its face.

A mammography costs between $250-$450 dollars. The cost of caring for a patient with breast cancer can run anywhere from $100,000 to over $300,000 if the disease is advanced. Even with insurance, breast cancer patients are responsible for out-of-pocket costs that include doctor visits, lab work, and prescription medication along with a coinsurance of 10% to 50% for surgery and other procedures. It is glaringly apparent that the $450 mammography is preferrable for  everyone to the $100,000-$300,000 in treatment costs. 

Third, this legislation saves women’s lives. Early detection is THE SINGLE MOST EFFECTIVE TREATMENT FOR BREAST CANCER. 

Finally, that Fiorello would presume to know more about the importance of breast cancer screening and the cost implications associated with a breast cancer diagnosis than two women who were diagnosed, treated and survived breast cancer shows us just how lacking in self-awareness Fiorello is.

Every year thousands of women are diagnosed with breast cancer. It is the second leading cause of death for women in the United States. Early detection is key to saving lives and keeping healthcare costs in line. 

Betsy Kreuter
Old Greenwich, CT

Kreuter is a two time breast cancer survivor