Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocates Stress Importance of Early Detection
Lubbock, TX – Local breast cancer survivors and activists representing the Lubbock Area Affiliate traveled to the nation’s capital April 14, joining hundreds of breast cancer activists from across the country to remind our nation’s leaders of the importance of early detection — and to challenge policy makers to invest in cancer research to bring forward the next generation of treatment options and screening technology. The day’s visits came as Susan G. Komen for the Cure® announced its latest investment, $55 million this year alone, for research into some of the most complex and challenging issues related to breast cancer.
“We understand the challenges lawmakers face as they deal with the unprecedented strain on federal and state budgets caused by current economic conditions. We feel these pressures too,” said Ashley Hamm, Executive Director. “We must sustain the significant progress of the past 30 years. We cannot step back from our commitment to ensuring access to quality breast cancer screening and treatment, nor can we allow scientific discovery to fade.”
Komen advocates stressed the importance of maintaining the government’s commitment to vital safety net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program. In their meetings, they sought support for a joint resolution which reaffirms Congress’s support for breast health programs, particularly those for the uninsured and underserved. The resolution notes that in just 30 years, 5-year relative survival rates for breast cancer when found before it spreads beyond the breast has increased from 74 percent to 98 percent – but plummets to 23 percent when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. That’s why detecting cancers early is key – later diagnoses ultimately leads to lost lives and most costly treatments that further strain the health care safety net.
“We have a much better understanding of breast cancer today than we did 30 years ago when Komen was founded,” said Julie Holladay, Komen Lubbock President-Elect. “Yet we will still lose more than 40,000 women each year from the disease, and there are many types of breast cancer about which we know very little. That’s why we must continue to energize science to discover the cures – and that’s going to take a commitment from everyone.”
As part of reaffirming its commitment to cancer research, Komen advocates asked their representatives to support the reauthorization of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, which is up for renewal this year. Since it first appeared in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service has sold more than 903 million breast cancer research stamps, which has generated more than $73 million for breast cancer research.