Critical legislation has 21 co-sponsors in Illinois House of Representatives.
Springfield, ILÂ â€“ Breast cancer survivors and advocates represented by Illinois Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the CureÂ® â€“ the worldâ€™s largest breast cancer organization announced their campaign to pass Illinois House Bill 1191 that would ensure that qualified patients who are enrolled in potentially lifesaving clinical trials have coverage for medical costs related to them.Â Many patients who qualify for clinical trials â€“ where important emerging medical science is utilized â€“ cannot access them because medical costs associated with them are not covered by their insurance plans.
â€œClinical trials are an absolutely critical tool in the fight against cancer,â€ said State Representative Greg Harris (D-Chicago) â€“ lead sponsor of House Bill 1191 and Chairman of the Human Services Committee which will consider the bill.Â â€œWe need to make sure that coverage denials do not present barriers to patients who could benefit from clinical trials.Â This is essential legislation that can save lives.â€
Over 8,700 Illinois women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Over 1,700 Illinois women died as a result.
Unfortunately, many patients who qualify and could benefit by enrolling in a clinical trial will be unable to do so because their insurance company will not cover otherwise routine medical expenses for trial participants. Such routine patient care costs include the costs of medical visits, hospitals stays, clinical lab tests, scans and x-rays.Â The lack of coverage for routine care creates yet another barrier to patient participation in clinical trials and limits access to additional treatment options for cancer.Â Â
â€œBreast cancer patients should have access to new medical approaches that can help them battle the disease,â€ said State Representative David Leitch (R-Peoria), also a Board Member of the Susan G. Komen Memorial Affiliate in Peoria. â€œPassing this legislation would be a fitting way to honor the legacy of Susan G. Komen, the inspiration for Susan G. Komen for the Cure, who grew up right here in Illinois.Â Our state should support increasing womenâ€™s access to new science that can save lives.Â This is what Susan G. Komen envisioned for Illinois women over 30 years ago.â€
ABOUT CANCER CLINICALTRIALS
Clinical trials are research studies that test how well new medical approaches work in people. Each study answers scientific questions and tries to find better ways to prevent, screen for, diagnose, or treat a disease. People who take part in cancer clinical trials have an opportunity to contribute to the knowledge of and progress against cancer. Just as critically, they also receive the most up-to-date care from experts.
For cancer patients, the benefits of participating in a clinical trial include the following:
- Participants have access to promising new approaches that are often not available outside the clinical trial setting.
- The approach being studied may be more effective than the standard approach.
- Participants receive regular and careful medical attention from a research team that includes doctors and other health professionals.
- Participants may be the first to benefit from the new method under study.
- Results from the study may help others in the future.
- Clinical trials take place in doctorsâ€™ offices, cancer centers, other medical centers, community hospitals and clinics, and veteransâ€™ and military hospitals.
A growing number of states have passed legislation or instituted special agreements requiring health plans to pay the cost of routine medical care received as a participant in a clinical trial.Â Why should the women of Illinois have to wait any longer?Â The Susan G. Komen for the Cure Affiliates in Illinois believe that our state must ensure expanded access to clinical trials..
House Bill 1191, also sponsored by Illinois House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie, will ensure that all qualified patients in health plans have coverage for routine care costs while enrolled in a clinical trial.
About Susan G. Komen for the CureÂ® and the Komen Affiliates in Illinois
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. The Illinois Affiliates of Komen for the Cure are working to better the lives of those facing breast cancer in our local communities joining more than 1 million breast cancer survivors and activists around the globe as part of the worldâ€™s largest and most progressive grassroots network fighting breast cancer. Through events like the Komen Race for the CureÂ®, the Illinois Affiliates have invested $7.5 million in community breast health programs in their local communities. Up to 75 percent of net proceeds generated by the Affiliate stays in their community. The remaining income goes to the national Susan G. Komen for the Cure Grants Program to fund research.