In a Time When Early Cancer Detection is Needed, the House Passes a Bill That Does Not Prioritize Lifesaving Programs

October 14, 2021

We don’t have to tell you how the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the world; every one of you felt this in a deeply personal way. What you might not know is that a recent nationwide survey of cancer patients and those who recently underwent cancer treatment revealed that nearly 1 in 3 have experienced delays or cancellations in their cancer-related care due to COVID-19. This can have a huge impact on the lives and wellbeing of cancer patients.

But what about those living with cancer who don’t know it yet? It’s a scary thought, but it’s reality for far too many. Cancer detection efforts are vital in the fight against cancer. An earlier diagnosis often means the cancer is more treatable and survivable. However, people without quality insurance often lack access to cancer screenings, and this problem has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which has provided free or low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings to millions of people who can’t afford them, aims to address this problem. But despite the urgent need for increased access to cancer screenings, funding for this program has fallen flat.

In July, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on their budget for the upcoming year. This budget included no increases in funding for this critical cancer screening program that is needed now more than ever. NBCCEDP is already underfunded and will remain underfunded for another year unless Congress acts to change this fact.  Women who need breast or cervical cancer screenings could potentially be turned away due to lack of funding for this program.

NBCCEDP is a lifesaving program that has provided low or no cost cancer screenings for over 30 years. But year after year it remains underfunded and unable to serve all patients in need of its services. The U.S. House of Representatives didn’t prioritize this funding. When the Senate votes on their version of the budget later this year, we need them to prioritize this lifesaving program by increasing funding.