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Senators Urge Medicare to Cover PET Scans for Myeloma Patients

Led by Senate Cancer Caucus Co-chairs Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sam Brownback (R-KS), 37 senators have sent a letter to Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson urging support for Medicare coverage for PET (positron emission tomography) scans for patients with seven types of cancer including myeloma.

Sen. Feinstein and Sen. Brownback encouraged other members of the Senate to sign the letter to Sec. Thompson through a “Dear Colleague” letter. That letter stated “PET scans are an incredibly powerful tool in the battle to treat cancer” and are “the most accurate, non-invasive way to show whether or not a cancer is malignant or benign.” Approval of coverage would be “cost-effective for Medicare, eliminating unnecessary surgeries and reducing the total number of diagnostic procedures a beneficiary may undergo.”

Medicare currently covers PET scans for lung (non-small cell), esophageal, colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, head and neck, breast, and thyroid cancers. In the letter to Sec. Thompson, the 37 senators (see list below) ask for the inclusion of coverage for “seven additional cancer indications: pancreatic, brain, small cell lung, cervical, ovarian, testicular and multiple myeloma.”

If one or both of your senators signed the letter, the IMF encourages you to write short thank you notes to them. You can call them by contacting the Senate switchboard at 202-224-3121 to be connected to your senators. Letters should be addressed as:

The Honorable [insert name of Senator]

United States Senate

Washington , DC 20510

If you have any additional questions, please contact IMF Director of Advocacy Greg Brozeit at greg.brozeit@sbcglobal.net.

PET Scan Letter Signers
(24 Democrats, 13 Republicans)

Alaska :
Ted Stevens (R)

Arkansas :
Blanche Lincoln (D)
Mark Pryor (D)

California :
Dianne Feinstein (D) – Lead
Barbara Boxer (D)

Colorado :
Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R)

Connecticut :
Christopher Dodd (D)
Joseph Lieberman (D)

Florida :
Bob Graham (D)

Illinois :
Richard Durbin (D)

Indiana :
Evan Bayh (D)

Kansas :
Sam Brownback (R) – Lead

Maryland :
Barbara Mikulski (D)
Paul Sarbanes (D)

Massachusetts :
Edward Kennedy (D)
John Kerry (D)

Michigan :
Debbie Stabenow (D)

Minnesota :
Norm Coleman (R)
Mark Dayton (D)

Mississippi :
Thad Cochran (R)

New Jersey :
Jon Corzine (D)

New York :
Charles Schumer (D)

North Carolina :
Elizabeth Dole (R)

Oregon :
Ron Wyden (D)

Pennsylvania :
Rick Santorum (R)
Arlen Specter (R)

South Carol i na :
Ernest Hollings (D)

South Dakota :
Tom Daschle (D)
Tim Johnson (D)

Tennessee :
Lamar Alexander (R)

Texas :
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)
John Cornyn (R)

Utah :
Orrin Hatch (R)

Virginia :
John Warner (R)

Washington :
Patty Murray (D)
Maria Cantwell (D)

West Virginia :
Robert Byrd (D)

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