This month marks the 3rd anniversary of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the US health care reform law enacted in 2010. A little-known component of that law is the EARLY Act. According to the bill’s author, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, “this legislation directs the Centers for Disease Control [or CDC] to develop and implement a national education campaign about the threat breast cancer poses to young women of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and the particular heightened risks of certain groups.”
The EARLY, or Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young, Act establishes an advisory committee to develop recommendations for how the CDC can best target both at-risk women and providers with key messages regarding the circumstances and symptoms of breast cancer in younger women. We are pleased that LIVESTRONG Foundation has two representatives on that committee: Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin, our senior medical advisor and young adult cancer survivor, and Director of Business Development for the Foundation and four-year breast cancer survivor, Renee Nicholas.
On March 19th, Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz held a press conference with members of the Early Act advisory committee. During that conference, Dr. Hayes-Lattin spoke to the foundation’s work providing fertility-preservation resources for people of reproductive age facing a cancer diagnosis. He also shared the outcomes of LIVESTRONG Foundation’s fertility insurance initiative, an effort that encourages corporations and insurers to cover benefits that can help young cancer patients plan for having children following treatment. Congresswoman Wasserman-Schultz also emphasized, “We need to make investments in survivorship.”
Dr. Hayes-Lattin spoke to the ability of the foundation to “shine a light” on the issues of young survivors, often overlooked in the cancer community. Our role on this national advisory committee gives us the opportunity to further highlight those issues and our related efforts. It is also a key example of how our navigation and policy work come together to drive national standards, ultimately benefiting all survivors.
For more information about the LIVESTRONG Foundation’s fertility assistance program, please visit livestrong.org/fertilehope.