October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time to educate ourselves on preventative and early-detection measures, to continue to support our friends and loved ones afflicted with the disease, and to work towards expanding research funding and capabilities to find a cure.
As a father, a grandfather, and a government official, I am blessed to have an opportunity to meet hundreds of people every year who are involved in the fight against cancer. Some are doctors and researchers. Others are cancer patients and survivors. This year has been no exception. In both my Washington office and in the 43rd District, I have had the chance to hear amazing stories of survival, love, hope, and loss.
I am also blessed to be in a leadership position where I can make a positive impact in the fight against cancer. This Congress, I have introduced legislation in the House of Representatives to reauthorize the Breast Cancer Research Stamp. H.R. 466 permits the sale of the stamp for four additional years beyond the current expiration date of December 31, 2011. Since 1998, the U.S. Postal Service has sold over 903 million "semi-postal" breast cancer research stamps -- raising $72 million for breast cancer research.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a great opportunity for all of us to remind the women in our families to have regular mammography screenings. There are great educational resources available for all women and their families to learn more about the risk factors involved with breast cancer, and useful early detection measures. Many organizations have a wealth of resources online, like the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org), and the National Cancer Institute (http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/types/breast).
We have come so far in combating breast cancer. If we continue to work together to improve research and education, we can create a world where no child will ever again have to lose a loved one to this disease.
JOE BACA, Congressman
43rd Congressional District