Senator Flanagan Honored For Efforts In Fight Against Breast Cancer

John J. Flanagan

October 24, 2012

Senator John Flanagan (2nd Senate District) was recently presented with the "Champion of Exposing the Secret" Award for his efforts in the fight against breast cancer.  The award was presented to him at Adelphi University during an event to celebrate breast cancer survivors sponsored by the Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program.  Senator Flanagan was honored for passing a new law (S.6769-B) which requires a mammography report to inform patients when they have dense breast tissue and to recommend that such patient have a discussion with their physician about pursuing further screening options.

According to leading medical studies, breast cancer is four to six times more likely in women with dense breast tissue, and mammograms fail to detect approximately 40% to 50% of tumors because dense tissue may obscure their presence.  Despite those facts, a Harris Interactive survey found that 95% of women do not know their breast density even though it is considered a risk factor for cancer, and less than one-in-ten women learn about breast density from their physician.

Senator Flanagan was presented with the award by JoAnn Pushkin, a breast cancer survivor-turned-advocate and Executive Director of Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc. which promotes education and awareness of breast cancer issues.  Ms. Pushkin is a constituent of Senator Flanagan and has worked closely with him on bringing this life-saving new law to New York.

“On behalf of Are You Dense, Inc. and Are You Dense Advocacy, Inc., it is my honor to recognize Senator Flanagan for his unwavering support for breast density notification in New York.  Thanks to his leadership, New York is one of only five states with a Breast Density Inform law.  Additionally, New York’s notification is the most comprehensive in the nation and now serves as template for other states as they draft their own legislation.  While New York women will benefit most directly from Senator Flanagan’s effort, his commitment to requiring breast density notification - and the opportunity for early detection that it affords - has set the tone for other state efforts across the country.  Countless lives, both in New York and across the country, will be saved by his perseverance and vision,” said Ms. Pushkin.

“I am truly humbled by this honor.  Gaining passage of this legislation took the efforts of many people who completely understood and appreciated the impact this would have on the lives of women across our state and this recognition is shared with every single one of them,” stated Senator Flanagan.  “Simply put, this law will save lives and it is something that all who played a role in its passage should be extremely proud of.”

The “Breast Density Inform” law will take effect in January of 2013.