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Trump’s Secretary of State nominee gets a narrow thumbs up, but his Veteran’s Affairs nominee is put on hold. Also on our rundown: Protests against Wells Fargo set for Des Moines today; and cannabis advocates blame Florida officials for “reefer madness.”

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Affordable Care Act: Newest Tool in Fight Against Breast Cancer

PHOTO: The Affordable Care Act is expected to help in the fight against breast cancer. CREDIT: Army Medicine
PHOTO: The Affordable Care Act is expected to help in the fight against breast cancer. CREDIT: Army Medicine
October 21, 2013

BISMARCK, N.D. – October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year's event marks a major shift in women being able to access the health care they need.

Matt Schafer with the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network says under the Affordable Care Act, women cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition such as breast cancer.

"The health care law also requires health plans to cover annual preventive mammograms for women starting at age 40,” he adds. “It prohibits lifetime dollar limits on coverage and it also restricts the amount of out-of-pocket costs.

“And for an organization like the American Cancer Society that's focused on finding a cure for this disease, nothing could be better."

Each year in North Dakota, there are about 500 new cases of breast cancer and close to 100 deaths because of the disease.

Education on prevention, earlier detection and better treatment options have all helped the five-year survival rate for breast cancer to climb to around 98 percent, and Schafer says more improvements are expected as more women are able to access affordable health care and get in for regular check-ups and treatment if needed.

"We've learned a lot about cancer,” he says. “We've learned a lot about preventing it. We've learned a lot about treating it, but the one challenge we've encountered is cost.

“And the piece of mind that women are going to have looking into the next year, they can spend more time focusing on getting healthy and not worrying about their life savings."

Enrollment for coverage under the new health care marketplaces that are part of the Affordable Care Act is now under way in North Dakota, with the policies to take effect Jan. 1.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND