Nita M Lowey

Breast Cancer Awareness - Oct. 7, 2009

Nita M Lowey
October 07, 2009— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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Mr. Speaker, I'd like to thank my colleagues, Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sue Myrick for organizing this very important Special Order hour tonight.

Recognizing breast cancer awareness month is about more than issuing a proclamation or delivering a speech. It is about honoring the women who have fought bravely against breast cancer and committing to finding a cure so that they and other women can live healthy lives.

These women and their families have created a community of hope for those who struggle every day--with courage and dignity--with this terrible disease.

They are mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, and advocates whose strength and tenacity have driven us toward significant progress in treating breast cancer.

Improvements in treatments coupled with advances in early detection and screening methods have increased the survival rates for women to 98 percent when breast cancer is detected in its earliest stages.

But this remarkable achievement can not stop us from ensuring this terrible disease is cured once and for all.

Government can't cure cancer, but it can put the resources in the hands of scientists who will. That's why I have made funding biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health a top priority in Congress.

It is hard to believe, but when I was first appointed to the Appropriations Committee in 1991, the federal government was spending just $133 million on breast cancer each year.

In the last decade, however, that investment has increased dramatically--to more than $1.3 billion between spending at the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, and Department of Defense.

Furthermore, last year, legislation I authored with Representative Sue Myrick to study the link between the environment and breast cancer was enacted into law.

In addition to fighting for more research into the causes and best treatments for breast cancer, I have also spearheaded the effort to substantially increase and accelerate research into early detection technologies.

Mammography screenings are a woman's best chance for detecting breast cancer early, and when coupled with new treatment options, can significantly improve a woman's chances of survival.

However, experts and scientists agree that we still have not found the 21st century early detection method we need.

I am pleased that the National Cancer Institute is spending close to $55 million per year to research better screening methods for breast cancer spurred by my legislation, the Better Screening for Women Act.

The federal commitment to cancer research has enabled us to make enormous strides in our understanding of this complex disease.

The investment we make in research and education today will improve care for each and every cancer patient, and move us closer to the day when we eradicate cancer.

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