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Honoring a True Public Servant By Raising Awareness About Breast Cancer


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Last week Virginia lost a devoted public servant when Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis from the First Congressional District passed away after her two year battle with breast cancer. Jo Ann was not only a dear friend but a true public servant, working tirelessly on behalf of all Virginians, particularly our brave men and women of the military through her work on the House Armed Services Committee.

Since Jo Ann's diagnosis with breast cancer in 2005 she worked diligently to increase public awareness of this awful disease. Jo Ann publicly discussed her experiences with breast cancer in the hopes that her story could educate and protect other women.

It is fitting that the month of October is designated as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although the breast cancer diagnosis rate has increased, the overall breast cancer death rate has dropped steadily since the early 1990s. These great strides have been made possible because of medical research, public education, early detection campaigns and public service announcements. Despite these successes breast cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths among American women.

Research indicates that several factors may increase the risk of developing breast cancer, including family history, age, and obesity. By making healthy lifestyle choices and exercising regularly, individuals can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. When breast cancer is detected early, treatment is more effective, giving hope to patients and saving lives.

In an effort to ensure women have access to life-saving screenings, the Congress worked in a bipartisan manner to pass the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program Reauthorization Act. This legislation, which the President signed into law earlier this year, allows us to continue helping low income and uninsured women gain access to vital cancer screening. In order to best detect and treat breast cancer, Federal agencies are collaborating with national organizations, State health agencies, and other key groups to promote important disease education and prevention activities.

Additionally, I serve as a member of the Cancer Care Working Group here in the Congress. This is a bipartisan coalition dedicated to educating Members of Congress on the issues surrounding all types of cancer care and to advancing legislation that will help us eradicate this disease and provide a better quality of life for cancer patients.

I encourage folks to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month by remembering and honoring friends and family who are living with breast cancer and those who have lost their lives to this dreadful disease. The courage and determination of these brave women, like Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, are an inspiration to us all. We must seize this opportunity to renew our commitment to fighting this disease, raising awareness, and supporting those affected by breast cancer.

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