Today, there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, it is expected that more than 192,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among women and more than 40,000 will die from this disease in 2009. Breast Cancer is the most common cancer among women and as Long Islanders we experience a higher incidence of breast cancer than many other parts of the country. As we observe National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it is imperative that all women take this opportunity to learn about this deadly disease and take the steps necessary to prevent breast cancer.
Early detection is the greatest defense against breast cancer, so it is essential that women have as much information as possible to protect themselves against this disease. Monthly self-exams for women of all ages, and annual mammograms for women over 40 are especially important. For women under 40 with a family history of breast cancer, they should speak with their health care provider about the appropriate time to begin receiving mammograms and how often.
Another important element in detecting breast cancer is a thorough understanding of the signs that a woman may have breast cancer. As a nurse for over 30 years, I am working in Congress to improve access to effective screening and treatment for breast cancer as well as increase awareness. This year, I cosponsored H.R. 1740, the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act. This bill would improve health outcomes by providing for an educational campaign aimed at making young women, their families and physicians aware of the threats posed by breast cancer to young women.
In addition, I signed on to the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act which would improve healthcare for individuals with breast cancer by ensuring that health insurance includes coverage for a minimum hospital stay of 48 hours. In an effort to raise awareness about a rare, but extremely dangerous type of breast cancer, Inflammatory Breast Cancer, I introduced H.Res. 395. This resolution calls on the Federal Government to do more to educate women about inflammatory breast cancer, which is often misdiagnosed by women and their doctors because of a lack of awareness of the disease.
Fortunately, here on Long Island, we have a number of fantastic service organizations for those seeking more information about breast cancer. One of these organizations, The Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline, has been offering information and emotional support for women, men, and their families for nearly thirty years. The hotline is staffed by breast cancer survivors and has helped countless women and their families who had medical questions or needed support in order to continue their fight against the disease.
I'm very proud that our community is home to such a wonderful program, helping women from all walks of life prevent and treat breast cancer. The Adelphi New York Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline is available 24 hours a day at (800)877-8077. I encourage everyone who has questions about breast cancer to utilize this important community resource.