Today, U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) marked Breast Cancer Awareness Month, celebrated each year in October, and pledged to continue fighting to secure federal funding for cancer research. Lautenberg encouraged New Jerseyans to get screenings for early detection, and expressed his support for the more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in this country.
"National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a time to celebrate breast cancer survivors and those currently combating this disease, while pledging to continue the fight until we have a cure," said Senator Lautenberg. "Increased awareness, early detection, and better treatments have improved the odds for hundreds of thousands of American women diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Thanks to Obamacare, insurance companies now have to provide annual breast exams free of charge, giving women peace of mind that they can get the screening they need. We will continue fighting to provide federal support for medical research so we can find new ways to stop breast cancer in its tracks."
Although anyone can get breast cancer, it is far more common among women, affecting one in eight American women. Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer, as are women with a family history of cancer. This year alone, more than 225,000 American women will be diagnosed with the disease and nearly 40,000 are expected to die from it. In addition, according to the National Cancer Institute, breast cancer costs for women alone cost the nation more than $16.5 billion annually to treat.
Strides have been made in early detection through screening and increased awareness, and treatments have also improved. These advances have resulted in declining breast cancer death rates since 1990, particularly among women under 50.
Senator Lautenberg is a strong supporter of federal funding for cancer research. As a member of the Senate Approporations Committee, he has fought to secure funding for medical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense.
Senator Lautenberg also worked to make health care more affordable and more accessible through passage of the Affordable Care Act. The health care reform law requires insurance plans to cover preventive health services--including annual breast exams--at no additional charge to the patient.