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Gynecological Resolution for Advancement of Ovarian Cancer Education

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. HALL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding me time, and I thank the gentleman from Oregon for his kind and informative information.

I, of course, rise in support of H. Res. 444. I refer to it as ``Grace's Resolution.'' It has been so referred to several times. I thank Chairman Barton, Chairman Deal, Ranking Member Sherrod Brown and all the leadership for bringing this very important bill directly to the floor and the attention of all Members.

This fall, the American public has been engaged in quite a few public awareness campaigns for cancer related to women, including breast and cervical cancer. During September, the Nation also recognized Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, and groups held hundreds of events across the country to increase public awareness of this terrible disease.

While it is heartening to see that Americans' risk of dying from cancer continues to decline every year, it is unfortunate that ovarian cancer does not follow this trend. In fact, the Ovarian Cancer Institute statistics demonstrate a woman's risk of dying from ovarian cancer is no less today than it was 10 years ago.

It is an unfortunate fact that ovarian cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Currently, 50 percent of the women diagnosed with ovarian cancer do not make it for 5 years. The disease is very treatable when detected early, but 81 percent of cases are diagnosed late, after the cancer has spread beyond the ovaries. There are still large gaps in knowledge on key aspects of the disease and there is not a reliable screening test that can help diagnose the disease at an earlier stage.

The resolution before the House today outlines common symptoms of the disease, including abdominal pressure, nausea, indigestion, unusual fatigue and unexplained weight loss or gain. Women are more at risk if they have a personal or family history of ovarian, breast or colon cancer, have not had children or are of increasing age.

The resolution supports further research to develop early detection tools, prevention methods, therapies and a cure. Unfortunately, funding for ovarian cancer research decreased from fiscal year 2003 to fiscal year 2004 by $7 million. Other than a $1 million decrease for prostrate cancer, no other cancer received a decrease in the same period.

As a Nation, we need to turn these grim statistics around. I would like to call on appropriators to adequately fund ovarian cancer research, and I would like to see the National Cancer Institute step up their efforts to find an early detection test.

I have a very personal interest in making ovarian cancer research a top priority. My long-time legislative director, Grace Warren, my friend, friend of my wife's, friend of our family's, is battling this terrible disease. Many on Capitol Hill have worked with Grace Warren and know that I have always referred to her as ``Amazing Grace.'' Some even said that the Baptists had named a song about ``Amazing Grace.'' I am not sure.

Grace was with me some 24 years, with Ray Roberts, my predecessor, 19 years, and I have always thought she worked for Mr. Rayburn, but I was afraid to ask her.

Grace devoted her entire career to Capitol Hill. She walked right off the high school stage on to Capitol Hill when she was 18 years old and has been here and given her life to it. Her specialty is health care policy, and all those who are familiar with the work of the Health Subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee know Grace as both a policy expert and as a friend.

Grace's battle with ovarian cancer has been going on for 2 years now, and she has taken up the call for advocacy, even in retirement and as she undergoes treatment. She is working with South Carolina and national ovarian cancer awareness groups to bring this disease to the forefront of our attention and to call for affirmative action.

For Grace and all the women who fight this disease every day, I say to you that we will keep fighting. I ask my colleagues to support this goal and to support increased funding, and I ask all of those who know me to join in prayer for her recovery and recovery for those who suffer the same illness.


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