Regrettably, The Baltimore Sun made a grave error in the headline of an op-ed we authored last week (“Insurers should cover full cost of prostate cancer screenings,” Feb. 21). The commentary focused around important, historic legislation that would make Maryland only the second state in the nation to ban cost-sharing for prostate cancer screenings. This legislation has the potential to save thousands of lives, as prostate cancer is the most diagnosed male-only cancer in Maryland. However, in publishing the piece, The Sun’s editorial team wrote a headline that read, “Insurers should cover full cost of pancreatic cancer screening.” This one word, “pancreatic,” caused a world of confusion for readers, and deeply upset advocates who have worked tirelessly in support of this lifesaving legislation.
Our offices and inboxes were flooded with calls and messages from Maryland residents who were either passionate about pancreatic cancer or deeply confused about what cancer this legislation would help cover costs for, as pancreatic and prostate cancers are entirely different. Additionally, The Sun’s error caused confusion around the disease of prostate cancer itself. The disease only affects men, whereas pancreatic cancer affects both men and women.
The goal of an op-ed is to raise awareness and inspire action. The Sun’s error diluted the effort and intention behind the commentary, and puts this life-saving effort at risk, as critics and foes of the effort are using this misfortune as an opportunity to derail the legislation.
The path toward passing legislation is often difficult and, hopefully, this is merely a bump in the road. We, as the authors of this legislation, will continue to push forward in our commitment to improving access to healthcare and saving lives.
Sen. Malcolm Augustine and Del. Erek L. Barron
The writers, both Democrats, represent Districts 47 and 24, respectively, (Prince George’s County), in the Maryland General Assembly.
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