Three-time Cancer Survivor Urges Lawmakers to Expand Access to Biomarker Testing

ACS CAN holds 'Cancer Action Day' at New Mexico State Capitol

February 8, 2023

Three-time cancer survivor urges lawmaker to expand access to biomarker testing Link to video and interview

SANTA FE – February 8, 2023 - The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) hosted a ‘Cancer Action Day’ at the state capitol in conjunction with the New Mexico Allied Council on Tobacco (NMACT), today. Joyce Graves, ACS CAN volunteer from Gallup and three-time cancer survivor, met with several lawmakers and urged them to pass HB73 Biomarker Testing Insurance Requirements. The bi-partisan legislation would expand equitable access to biomarker testing statewide.

In cancer care, biomarkers are often used to help determine the best treatment for a patient. After a diagnosis, biomarker testing helps connect patients with the right treatment at the right time. Testing can extend lives by ruling out unnecessary or ineffective treatments thereby eliminating potentially life-altering side effects.

Despite the enormous benefits, insurance coverage is failing to keep pace with innovations and advancements in biomarker testing and treatment. This leaves some patients with the decision of paying for these tests out-of-pocket or going without this information. As a result, not all communities are benefitting from the latest advancements in biomarker testing and precision medicine.

“As a three-time cancer survivor, I know firsthand the struggle patients go through when undergoing chemotherapy and other treatments. Biomarker testing is a gamechanger for cancer patients. Ruling out unnecessary treatments could not only cut costs, but also prolong lives. It’s time all New Mexicans have equal access to this groundbreaking testing, no matter their race, gender, or income,” said Graves. ACS CAN volunteer Joyce Graves meets with New Mexico Rep. Liz Thomson (D)

If passed, HB73 would require state-regulated insurance companies and Medicaid to cover biomarker testing for patients who need it when supported by medical and scientific evidence.

In 2023, more than 11,000 New Mexicans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer, with more than 3,000 people projected to die from the disease. Cancer is the leading cause of death nationwide among Hispanic/Latino people, and Black/African American populations are dying from cancer at a rate disproportionate to White populations.

Without action to expand access to biomarker testing, existing disparities in cancer outcomes by race, ethnicity, income, and geography could increase.

Three-time cancer survivor urges lawmakers to expand access to biomarker testing








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