Expanding Mammogram Coverage for New Yorkers: Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Shannon’s Law

(Albany, NY) On Friday, August 2, 2019, Governor Andrew Cuomo enacts Shannon’s Law, sponsored by Senator Monica R. Martinez (D-Brentwood), a bill requiring insurance companies to cover annual mammogram screenings for New Yorkers ages 35 to 39 when it is deemed medically necessary.  This legislation is named in honor of Shannon Saturno, a Babylon teacher who was diagnosed with breast cancer while pregnant and passed away at 31 years old. 

Shannon’s Law expands access to annual breast exams for New Yorkers in their 30s. Insurance companies are currently only required to cover annual mammogram screenings for women over the age of 40, but statistics show that 1 in 227 women in the U.S. between the ages of 30 and 40 are diagnosed with breast cancer.[1] Over 12,000 cases of breast cancer detected annually are in women under the age of 40, with over 26,000 in women under 45. Oftentimes, when breast cancer is detected in younger women, it’s in later stages and is more aggressive. [2]

It is important to emphasize that both men and women are affected by breast cancer, and that this legislation will cover all individuals regardless of gender. The American Cancer Society estimates that 2,670 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2019, and approximately 500 men will die as a result. [3]

“I strongly believe in the importance of early detection, and it is imperative that individuals under 40 have access to annual mammograms when deemed medically necessary.  With 1 in 8 women developing breast cancer in their lifetime, the passage of this bill is critical to enabling early detection and saving lives. Insurance coverage should work to facilitate early detection, not make it more difficult for individuals to determine if they have cancer,” stated Martinez

“It’s never too early to begin taking preventative measures against breast cancer as this devastating illness can affect women of all ages. Lowering the age of covered annual mammogram screenings will help more women detect early signs of cancer and ultimately save lives. I want to thank the governor for signing this critical legislation into law” said Assemblywoman Kim Jean-Pierre 

“We’re grateful our vision of fair screening we championed with Shannon’s law was understood and made a reality; looking at the statistics showing decline in age at diagnosis it’s imperative to open the horizon with more options for all women in New York State,''says Linda Bonanno and Donna Cioffi of First Company Pink/ got checked?


[1] cancer.gov/types/breast/risk-fact-sheet

[2] youngsurvival.org/learn/about-breast-cancer/statistics#1

[3] https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer-in-men/about/key-statistics.html