A Greenlawn man joined Northwell Health officials Monday to urge Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill involving biomarker testing.
The testing is a way to look for genes, proteins, and other substances called biomarkers or tumor markers, that can provide information about cancer.
The bills–Senate Bill 1196a / Assembly Bill 1673a seeks to ensure comprehensive biomarker testing is covered by state-regulated health plans, including Medicaid.
Hal Sieger, 65, is a cancer survivor from Greenlaw who beat Stage 4 melanoma in 2012, with biomarkers playing a role.
Sieger credits access to the testing and Northwell Health for saving his
life. “I was first diagnosed in 1988 and was cancer-free for 22 years until the recurrence of melanoma in 2012. Thankfully, biomarker testing and a new drug were available to me. I am extremely grateful for the
advances in science, which allowed me to see my three children graduate high school and college,” he said.
Despite the growing importance of biomarker testing in personalized medicine, barriers to testing persist, leading some patients to have to choose between paying out-of-pocket or skip the testing.
“Biomarker testing in cancer is widely recognized and accepted as a critical approach to cancer treatment, prognosis and diagnosis; it represents the current standard of care for cancer treatment, said
Jeff Boyd, PhD, chief scientific officer and director of the Center for Genomic Medicine at Northwell Health Cancer Institute. “This is not about future research or political ideologies—it’s a recognized and
crucial element in the fight against cancer.”