Chafee Breast Cancer Research Bill Going to the floor of the Senate
Today, U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee's "Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act" was unanimously approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. The act, hailed by breast cancer advocates as a landmark piece of legislation, will now head to the floor of the Senate.
Recognizing the pressing need to find a cure for this devastating disease, which is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women, Senator Chafee authored legislation to provide federal funding for research into the environmental causes of breast cancer. This issue is of particular importance to Rhode Island, as the American Cancer Society estimates that 780 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in Rhode Island this year.
"Millions of Americans suffer from this disease and all of us know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer," said U.S. Senator Lincoln Chafee. "This bill is an important step towards giving us a better understanding the causes of breast cancer, breakthroughs in prevention and treatment, and ultimately a cure. For many years, scientists have researched the genetic variations that can lead to breast cancer, but the environmental causes have largely been ignored. The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act will allow us to gather important evidence on what environmental factors may trigger the onset of breast cancer before we come to conclusions, and it will arm women with the scientific data they need to stay healthy and cancer-free. I hope the commitment of those who worked to approve this legislation in the committee will bring this bill to the forefront of women's health issues in Congress."
Scientists believe that environmental factors -- diet, pesticides, and electromagnetic fields -- play a significant role in determining who will contract breast cancer.
Chafee's bill would create the first national strategy to address this important issue. The bill authorizes the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to award grants to research centers to examine the environmental factors that may be related to the development of breast cancer. The bill calls for $30 million in research grants from 2007-2012.
Recognized by the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) for his "Outstanding Leadership in the Fight Against Breast Cancer" in 2001, 2004, and 2005, Senator Chafee has been an unyielding advocate for breast cancer research. Senator Chafee was also honored by the Avon Foundation as a "Pink Ribbon Crusader," in recognition of his support of breast cancer related causes.