The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. In the United States, 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. An estimated 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the US in 2020, and doctors will diagnose 48,530 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer. Approximately 64% of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, which means cancer has not spread to other areas of the body. When doctors diagnose breast cancer at this stage, the survival rate is approximately 99%.
The Georgia House Republican Caucus continues to prioritize all Georgians’ health, and the health of women is no exception.
This year, my friend, Majority Whip Trey Kelley, sponsored an essential piece of legislation, House Bill 1125 - Lacee’s Law. HB 1125 requires state health insurance plans to provide breast cancer screenings to those considered high risk. The legislation includes a list of characteristics that qualify a woman as “high-risk,” including a family history analysis or a known BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation. Before the passage of HB 1125, only those thirty-five and older were covered to be screened for breast cancer under state health insurance plans, regardless of their risk factors.
Whip Kelley was inspired to draft HB 1125 by the story of a childhood friend of his, Lacee Landrum, a Georgia teacher. In April of 2019, at the age of twenty-nine years old, Lacee went to her doctor, concerned about a lump she had found in her breast.
Lacee had a family history of breast cancer, but the doctor she visited dismissed her concerns due to her young age. After finding another lump, Lacee visited a second doctor who diagnosed her with stage-3 breast cancer.
Lacee received treatment, and she is now officially cancer-free! On August 5, 2020, Governor Kemp signed this bill into law, with Lacee and her family and friends in attendance. Along with Whip Kelley, this bill was sponsored by Representative Deborah Silcox; Representative Sharon Cooper, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee; Representative Lynn Smith; Representative Darlene Taylor; and Representative Ginny Ehrhart.
HB 1125 will increase the availability of screenings for Georgia women at an increased risk of breast cancer, leading to faster diagnoses and better outcomes for women. Thank you to Whip Kelley and the other co-sponsors of this bill for your hard work to ensure that women receive the health care that they need and deserve.
As we approach Election Day, I encourage you all to vote, whether by absentee ballot, early voting in person, or on Election Day. Remember to visit www.MVP.SOS.GA.gov to find your polling place or get more information on receiving an absentee ballot. Thank you all for allowing me to represent Georgia House District 159. It is truly an honor to work for you and this great state. If you have any feedback, do not hesitate to call (404 656-5052, email, or engage on Facebook. If you would like to receive email updates, please visit my website to sign up for my newsletter or email me.
Jon Burns represents District 159 in the Georgia General Assembly, where he serves as the House Majority Leader.