Senator Clinton Joins Colleagues, Survivors to Call for Passage of Breast Cancer Research Bill
At a press conference on Capitol Hill, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton today joined colleagues from both sides of the aisle and both chambers of Congress, along with breast cancer survivors, to call for the passage of the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act. An original co-sponsor of the bill, Senator Clinton joined Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senators Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Representatives Lois Capps (D-CA), Nita Lowey (D-NY), and Sue Myrick (R-NC), along with Fran Visco, President of the National Breast Cancer Coalition, and singer-songwriter and breast cancer survivor Sheryl Crow to call for passage of this legislation, which would create NIH-funded research centers to explore the links between environmental pollutants and breast cancer.
"If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then investments in breast cancer research, treatment, and care are worth their weight in gold to women," said Senator Clinton. "Every one of us has been affected by breast cancer, whether it is through our own personal battle, or our experiences offering love and support to our friends, our mothers, and our sisters. With better understanding of the causes of this disease we can offer more hope to women whose lives have been turned upside down by a breast cancer diagnosis and we can help reduce the number of women with that diagnosis in the first place."
Breast Cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the United States. Three million women in the United States are currently living with breast cancer, one million of whom have not yet been diagnosed. On average, over 13,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year in New York State, with about 3,000 annual deaths caused by this disease.
The Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act would direct $40 million annually to establish Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Centers of Excellence in order to conduct collaborative research on environmental factors that are linked to breast cancer. It would also establish a panel of experts, including patient advocates, to develop a comprehensive strategy for research in this area. Last Congress the bill was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. Senator Clinton pressed for the bill to be considered on the Senate floor but the Republican leadership blocked Senate passage. The legislation was reintroduced in February and must be considered in committee again this Congress.
Several New York universities are already engaging in innovative research in this area. Last year, Senator Clinton visited Cornell University's Sprecher Institute for Comparative Cancer Research and met with researchers from their program on Breast Cancer and Environmental Risk Factors, who are working to translate this research to help women understand and minimize their environmentally-connected risks.
Senator Clinton has long been active in promoting increased research into links between health and the environment. In 2001, she worked with her colleagues on the Environment and Public Works Committee to hold a field hearing in Long Island on the possible links between the environment and breast cancer. She has also introduced the Coordinated Environmental Health Network Act, which would establish a nationwide tracking network to help identify connections between disease and environment, develop a response system for addressing public health threats, and expand the biomonitoring work of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.