Meriden – City Councilwoman and Democratic State Senate candidate Dante´ Bartolomeo today reminded the public that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and encouraged women throughout Connecticut to get annual screenings to ensure their continued health.
Connecticut has the second-highest rate of breast cancer incidence in the United States. However, fewer women are dying of the disease because of access to early detection screenings, according to a 2011 report by the Connecticut affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
“This year, nearly 3,000 Connecticut women will be diagnosed with breast cancer,” Bartolomeo said. “These women are not just statistics or numbers on a budget sheet, but rather our mothers, sisters, daughters and friends. In the interest of saving lives, I encourage all women to get their annual mammogram as soon as possible.”
However, if State Senator Len Suzio (R-Meriden) had gotten his way, health clinics that serve women might have had to close their doors and women across Connecticut could have lost access to mammograms, cancer screenings and other lifesaving tests.
Suzio voted for a Republican budget proposal in 2011 that sought to eliminate nearly $500,000 in funding for breast and cervical cancer screenings, as well as over $8.4 million dedicated to statewide community health services. As a result, women without health insurance and lower-income patients would have been forced to find money to pay for tests they could not otherwise afford to undergo.
Additionally, Suzio proposed an amendment last year that would have eliminated virtually all of Planned Parenthood’s funding – an amount totaling $2 million in state grants over two years.
Planned Parenthood has 18 health centers in Connecticut and provides services to nearly 65,000 people in the state. More than 90 percent of the services they provide are routine gynecological exams, cancer screenings, immunizations, contraceptive services and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
“Len Suzio has taken a page out of the national Republican playbook in mirroring efforts by Republicans in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood,” said Bartolomeo. “When you make it harder for women to get mammograms and other cancer screenings, you put lives at risk and ultimately drive up health care costs. Mr. Suzio’s attempts to cut funding for these lifesaving tests are nothing short of alarming.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, women 40 years of age and older should have mammograms every 1 to 2 years.
Women who are at higher than average risk of breast cancer (for example, because of a family history of the disease or because they carry a known mutation in either the BRCA1 or the BRCA2 gene) should talk with their health care providers about whether to have mammograms before the age of 40 and how often to have them.
About Dante´ Bartolomeo
Dante´ Bartolomeo has served on the Meriden City Council since 2008 and is currently Deputy Majority Leader. She is also Chair of the Public Works and Parks & Recreation Committee, Vice-Chair of the Finance Committee and Liaison to the Board of Education. Under her watch, Meriden has reduced its operating expenses three out of the last four years, fully funded its pension obligations and increased its bond rating by three notches to AA-. Prior to her role as a City Councilwoman, Bartolomeo served her community as an advocate for universal health care and enhanced educational opportunities for Meriden students. She and her husband, Doug, have two sons: Riley, 16 and Cameron, 10.