By Sen. Charles Grassley
Q: What is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
A: This October marks the 25th year of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which promotes breast cancer awareness and remembers those who have been affected by breast cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 211,000 women in the United States learn each year that they have breast cancer. My wife Barbara was one of those women 22 years ago and, as a survivor, she works hard to raise awareness about breast cancer and the importance of annual mammograms. Early detection can help save lives. Barbara's leadership is an inspiration, and I've been able to join her volunteer efforts by participating in the annual Race for the Cure and speaking to groups to encourage women to be vigilant when it comes to their own health. In the Senate, I'm a member of the Cancer Coalition, which is organized to keep members of Congress focused on cancer-related issues.
Q: How is Congress working to increase breast cancer research?
A: Congress annually provides funding for the National Institutes of Health to help accelerate the pace of research and improve care and treatment for breast cancer. I sponsored breast-cancer treatment legislation which became law in 2000. The Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Act extended Medicaid to low-income, uninsured women so that they could access treatment after a diagnosis of breast or cervical cancer. At the time of passage, the federal government provided screening but no treatment for women who were uninsured and too young to be eligible for Medicare. I subsequently co-sponsored legislation that became law in 2008, and expanded research on environmental risk factors and how they relate to breast cancer. The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act also established an inter-agency advisory committee to better coordinate the research and therapies available to patients. I will continue my efforts in the United States Senate to raise awareness, provide research funding, and lend both public and private support to those who are fighting breast cancer. For more information about breast cancer causes, screening, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and care, visit www.cancer.gov