Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-Miramar) made the following statement recognizing National Breast Cancer Awareness Month:
"This month we stand together with those who have bravely faced this disease, as well as to raise awareness toward finding a cure.
"I am proud to wear the pink ribbon pin in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to recognize the importance of early detection in an effort to eradicate this disease, including encouraging women and men to follow recommended screening guidelines. Furthermore, we must make certain that every woman has access to regular mammography screenings.
"For more than 20 years, the observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month each October has provided a time for us all to reflect on loved ones who have won and lost the battle against breast cancer.
"Every two minutes, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and every thirteen minutes one woman will die of breast cancer in the United States. In Florida alone, an estimated 15,330 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in 2011 and 2,690 of these women will die from this disease. These statistics are some of the many reasons I am a supporter of legislation and action that aids the fight to end breast cancer. I have also signed the National Breast Cancer Coalition's Congressional Declaration of Support for Breast Cancer Deadline 2020. By declaring my support to end breast cancer by January 1, 2020, I am proud to commit to continuing to educate myself and my constituents about the issues surrounding breast cancer.
"Unfortunately, today we see a decline in screening rates. A recent study of 1.5 million women found that of those over the age of forty, with health insurance, less than fifty percent had received the recommended annual screening. The key to ending this disease is early detection, which reduces costs associated with the disease. The costs for early stage treatment are estimated at approximately $22,350 per person, while late stage treatment costs nearly $120,000 per person. Early detection of this life threatening disease is crucial to saving lives and ultimately reduces the burden on patients and our health system.
"There are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors living in the U.S. today. They are the embodiment of bravery, as well as to the importance of promoting awareness about breast cancer, following recommended guidelines, offering treatment to those affected, and continuing to fund ground-breaking research.
"I commend those advocates, survivors, and men and women who fight the disease every single day. In honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I encourage everyone to make a renewed commitment to following recommended screening guidelines and I will continue the effort here in Congress to eradicate breast cancer by supporting breast health awareness, education, research, screening and referrals."
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.