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Breast cancer advocates rally at Nova Scotia Province House in support of 'Find It Early Act'

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Dozens of breast cancer advocates rallied at the Nova Scotia Province House in Halifax in support of a bill by the name of the “Find It Early Act.”

The group dawned pink clothing and paraded through the city’s downtown, calling for coverage for supplementary screening for breast cancer.

Advocates at the rally say MRI scans would be a better option than what they have currently, as cancer is harder to detect in dense breasts on a regular mammogram.

The “Find It Early Act” is a federal bill which would ensure all health insurance plans would cover screening and diagnostic breast imaging without out-of-pocket costs for women with dense breasts, or whose who may be at higher risk for breast cancer.

Cancer screening programs were also the subject at Tuesday’s standing committee on health.

“We need [an] MRI here, we need contrast mammography, we need better screening at catching it early. We do not need to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars when we can catch it early,” said Liberal MLA Rafah Dicostanzo.

Dicostanzo is calling on Nova Scotia to follow the lead of British Columbia and Ontario when it comes to breast cancer screening.

“B.C. is using contrast-enhanced mammography, Ontario is using MRIs. I am happy with both, because both will find four times more cancer than our mammograms,” said Dicostanzo.

“It is wrong what we are doing here. We are waiting are waiting until Stage 2 or 4 until we treat it instead of catching it early with an abbreviated MRI. A 10-minute MRI that my sister who lives in Ontario gets because of my cancer, but I can’t get it as a woman who has had cancer.”

Dicostanzo notes both British Columbia and Ontario’s technology is at least four times more effective at finding cancer than the mammograms used in Nova Scotia.

Liberal leader Zach Churchill also attended the rally, and showed support for the bill.

“We’re not going to fix our health-care system until we start diagnosing cancer and other illnesses earlier, and until we start filling the incredible gap there is in women’s health care in this province, from research to services that aren’t provided,” said Churchill. “We will keep pushing this government to change policies on this, and if they don’t do it then it is certainly something our Liberal Party is committed to doing.”

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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