One-hundred-30 Iowans who’ve survived cancer gathered at the Statehouse Thursday to ask legislators to ensure cancer victims who don’t have insurance get government help to battle the disease. The cancer survivors sat down over lunch with legislators to tell their stories, and 27-year-old Jennifer Wilson of Iowa City was among them. She found a lump in her breast when she was 22. Wilson’s doctor wanted to send her home and have her check back in after two months to see if the lump had grown, but Wilson was very adamant about having it tested. It turned out to be cancerous. After chemotherapy, she went to radiation and a doctor asked why she hadn’t had a mammogram. Wilson had the mammogram, and a small spot of cancer was found. She had a double masectomy, and followed that with reconstructive surgery. But the cancer came back. Wilson had a lump removed from her neck, and is now taking a new drug that’s supposed to block the redevelopment of breast cancer cells. Wilson says her own experience shows that it’s difficult even for people with insurance to get the care they need. Wilson says it’s also important for women on Medicaid to get mammograms because finding the cancer early means a greater chance of survival — and less expensive treatment.
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