The pink ribbon has become a universal symbol of breast cancer awareness. Every 13 minutes a woman dies from breast cancer. And now it’s time for action to move beyond pink! One easy action that will have a major impact on helping women with breast cancer is contacting Congress about the Metastatic Breast Cancer Access to Care Act (HR2178). This bill, initiated by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (, would waive the 24-month waiting period for Medicare and the five-month waiting period for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits for eligible individuals under age 65 with metastatic breast cancer who are deemed “medically disabled.” These waiting periods are arbitrary and create cruel hardships and undue financial burden on those with incurable cancer. The bill has over 176 House co-sponsors but is stuck in committee. Congressman Richard Neal (District 1-MA), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, has the power to move HR2178 to a vote by the end of the year. Letters and calls of support could get him to take action.

In the meantime, women are dying waiting for our representatives to do the right thing and move beyond “pink awareness” and take action.

Judith Hirshfield

Eel River Road


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