For cancer patients and survivors caught in the coverage gap, we know access to health care means comprehensive coverage for cessation and other resources to help Mississippians with limited incomes successfully quit smoking, but it also means access to screening, medications, and life-saving treatment.
Georgia House and Senate Pledge Support for Precision Medicine and Biomarker Testing
Passing a Resolution Noting the Need to Increase Access to Lifesaving Testing and Innovative Treatments
ATLANTA, GA – April 4, 2022 – As of late Friday evening, the House and Senate respectively passed a resolution recognizing the benefits of biomarker testing, marking a key step in accessing precision medicine treatments, and increasingly important in the treatment of cancer and other conditions.
“The field of precision medicine holds great promise in ensuring the delivery of the right treatment to the right patient at the right time,” shared Senate resolution sponsor and primary care physician Sen. Ben Watson (R). “By connecting patients to the most effective treatment for their cancer, we can help achieve better health outcomes, improve quality of life and reduce costs.”
To guide treatment options, doctors test for specific biomarkers – such as gene mutations – found in blood, tissues or other biospecimens to gain insight into the physiological processes, medical conditions or disease. This targeted testing has played a critical role in improving cancer outcomes with a 31% reduction in mortality for certain lung cancer patients and similar benefits for other cancers.
“Precision medicine and biomarker testing can lead to improved patient survival and quality of life,” said House sponsor Rep. Sharon Cooper (R). “That’s why we must work to ensure all Georgians who could benefit have access to these promising tests and related therapies. Raising awareness on the issue and need today is the first step towards accomplishing that goal.”
Despite its benefits, access to biomarker testing has not kept pace with the rate of innovation due to several factors including limited awareness of new testing methodologies among providers and patients and lack of coverage by insurance plans.
“Barriers to biomarker testing contribute to the racial, ethnic and socioeconomic cancer disparities we see,” noted Rep. Billy Mitchell (D). “By ensuring every Georgia resident has access to treatment tailored to their specific disease, we can change that by helping reduce the physical and emotional burdens of treatment, and most importantly, improving chances of survival.”
Recognizing the vital role timely access to innovative therapies plays in survivorship against cancer, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) continues to advocate for improved access to biomarker testing through evidence-based policy at the state level in Georgia and across the country.