Crisco spreads message breast cancer screenings

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State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge), left, listens while Dr. Pai-Jung Huang, medical director of the Taipei Medical University Hospital, talks about his desire to import several of Connecticut's breast cancer awareness and screening policies to Taiwan July 5 in Hartford. CONTRIBUTED
HARTFORD — On July 5, State Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr. (D-Woodbridge) hosted Taiwanese breast cancer specialist Dr. Pai-Jung Huang at the state Capitol.

Huang is Medical Director of the Taipei Medical University Hospital and is working to import for his country many of Connecticut’s breast cancer screening policies. Crisco, who is the Senate chair of the legislature’s Insurance and Real Estate Committee, championed the policies in recent years.

The international summit was coordinated by Nancy M. Cappello, Ph.D., president and founder of Are You Dense, Inc., a breast cancer information clearinghouse and advocacy organization. Cappello is a breast cancer survivor.

Crisco said, in a prepared release, initiatives to mirror Connecticut’s groundbreaking breast cancer screening policies, designed in part to help women with dense breast tissue gain access to all manner of screening options.

“Connecticut has established itself as a leader in breast cancer awareness, now providing mandatory referrals to and insurance coverage for additional screening as necessary. Our proactive approach has already helped not just the women who live here, but their sons, brothers, husbands and fathers besides,” Crisco said in a prepared release. “It’s extremely gratifying to know the success we’ve had here gives hope to women and breast cancer prevention advocates elsewhere. I’ve pledged to help Dr. Huang and others adapt our policies to suit their needs.”

Similar breast cancer screening legislation to that of Connecticut has been passed in Texas and is in the works in seven other states and two foreign countries, according to Cappello.

“Senator Crisco’s understanding of this issue and Connecticut’s legislation is spreading across the country,” Cappello said in a prepared release. “Internationally, in addition to this Taiwanese delegation we are also working with Canadian authorities.”