BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
Mr. GRAHAM of South Carolina. Mr. President, I rise today to recognize this month as "National Breast Cancer Awareness Month." This special month is meant to bring awareness to the continued prevalence of breast cancer and the importance of using early detection techniques to help reduce the number of women and men who lose their battle against breast cancer each year.
This year it is estimated that more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. Through the use of early detection, many of these cases will be successfully diagnosed and treated before the cancer spreads. However, breast cancer will also claim close to 40,000 victims in this year alone.
To promote early detection of breast cancer, National Mammography Day is celebrated each October as a part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This year, on October 17, many radiologists provided free or discounted mammograms in an effort to encourage more women to take part in this important screening. Mammography is an important tool to help detect breast cancer while it is still highly treatable.
Unfortunately, not all women have easy access to mammograms either because they are uninsured or their health insurance does not cover this service. Further aggravating this issue is the low reimbursement of mammograms by Medicare, and the fact that not enough assistance is available to train and recruit more radiologists to perform this vital screening. I am proud to be an original cosponsor of the Assure Access to Mammography Act of 2003. This legislation increases the Medicare reimbursement for mammograms and helps in the recruitment of radiologists to perform mammograms. I am hopeful that it will be enacted soon.
Hardly a family or group of friends has not been affected by breast cancer in some way. Events such as the annual "Race for the Cure" in support of breast cancer prove that there is widespread support for finding further treatment options and cures for this disease. I encourage those who are interested to visit the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month website to learn more at www.nbcam.org.