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Introduction of the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2007

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Location: Washington, DC

INTRODUCTION OF THE OVARIAN CANCER BIOMARKER RESEARCH ACT OF 2007 -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 28, 2007)

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SPEECH OF
HON. HOWARD L. BERMAN
OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2007

* Mr. BERMAN. Madam Speaker, I rise today in honor of Gynecologic Cancer Awareness Month to introduce the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2007 with Representative Ralph M. Hall. I commend Mr. Hall, my friend and colleague, for his work on this issue and for his dedication to this devastating disease.

* According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there will be 22,430 new cases of ovarian cancer and 15,280 deaths from ovarian cancer in the United States in 2007. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women and causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.

* Early detection is the key to preventing deaths from this disease. In cases where ovarian cancer is detected before it has spread beyond the ovaries, more than 93 percent of women survive longer than five years. When diagnosed in the advanced stages, the chance of five-year survival drops to about 30 percent. Currently, early stage diagnosis occurs in only 20 percent of ovarian cancer cases in the U.S. Ovarian cancer mortality could be reduced dramatically if a majority of the women affected by ovarian cancer were diagnosed at an early stage. Unfortunately, there is no widely accepted or effective screening test for ovarian cancer currently available and the disease is difficult to identify because symptoms are easily misdiagnosed.

* The Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2007 would authorize the NCI to make grants to public or nonprofit entities to establish research centers focused on ovarian cancer biomarkers. Biomarkers are biochemical features within the body that can be used to measure the progress of a disease and predict the effects of treatment. This Act also establishes a national clinical trial that will enroll at-risk women in a study to determine the clinical utility of using these validated ovarian cancer biomarkers.

* The need for increased research and funding for ovarian cancer is critical to improving survivorship rates from this disease. Between FY2003 and FY2006 funding for the NCI increased by $211 million, but gynecologic cancer research funding decreased. With the lifetime risk of ovarian cancer at one out of every 69 women, we must increase the resources to fight this disease.

* Credit is due to the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, and the American College of Surgeons for supporting the Ovarian Cancer Biomarker Research Act of 2007. Support for this bill from groups such as these is extremely important throughout the entire legislative process. Specifically, I thank Dr. Beth Karlan for bringing the idea for this bill to my attention. Dr. Karlan is the Past President of the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. She is a physician, teacher, and advocate in the field of gynecologic cancer and has helped numerous women in their battle with these diseases. She has also testified before Congress about the need for increased research and funding for gynecologic cancers. Her efforts are to be commended.

* I also want to acknowledge Lindy Graham, a dear friend of mine, afflicted by ovarian cancer. Lindy has waged a spirited and successful battle against this disease and is currently cancer free, a pronouncement that fills me and all of Lindy's myriad of friends with great joy.

* Madam Speaker, I look forward to the passage of this bill and the day when all cases of ovarian cancer are detected early and all women diagnosed with this disease survive.


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