Long Island Breast Cancer Coalitions Unite to Strongly Urge LI State Senators to Pass FAFTA

It is a widely accepted fact that Long Island has an elevated incidence of breast cancer compared to the national average.

A breast cancer diagnosis is shocking for a woman of any age, but there is an extra layer of complication for women in their childbearing years. Cancer treatment can harm or destroy a woman’s ability to have a baby.  There is often very little time between diagnosis and the start of treatment.

It is in this short, extraordinary emotional window that a woman can act to protect her fertility before it is impaired or destroyed by treatment. Before treatment begins, steps can be taken to freeze eggs. But it has a cost–a cost that is unanticipated, and often out of reach and not feasible with time constraints. Families must attempt to raise this money immediately between diagnosis and treatment.

We strongly urge passage of the Fair Access to Fertility and Treatment Act (FAFTA).  This act will update existing fertility legislation to require that health insurers cover egg and sperm preservation if a medical treatment can harm fertility.  While this bill amends the state’s fertility statute,  we believe that this is more a cancer issue than a fertility issue. As far back as 2006, the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) “encourage[d] providers to advise patients regarding potential threats to fertility as early as possible in the treatment process so as to allow for the widest array of options for fertility preservation.” More recently ASCO added the recommendation that “the discussion should be documented.”

Support in the Senate is key.  FAFTA passed the Assembly by a 5:1 margin in the last legislative session with bipartisan support.  We need the Senate to act!

We want New Yorkers to have the same health insurance coverage that the state legislature and state employees receive with their taxpayer funded health insurance, which provides coverage for egg and sperm preservation.

Our position on passage is also supported by cancer centers at some of the largest hospital networks in New York, including:  Columbia University Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo.