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Public Statements

Breast Cancer Awareness

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, D.C.

Breast Cancer Awareness


Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise today, during breast cancer awareness month, in solidarity with, and through the strength of, thousands of breast cancer survivors and victims throughout these United States.

I stand by my friend and colleague Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz whose fight with this disease is an incredible story of will and perseverance;

I stand by many longtime friends in our community who have been affected by this terrible disease;

And I stand by hundreds of thousands of women whom I will never know nor meet, but whose stories we already know all too well.

And though breast cancer affects both genders, it disproportionally targets women, with men being about 100 times less likely to be stricken with the disease.

And as women, our chances of developing invasive breast cancer at some time in our lives is incredibly high, by some counts a 1 in 8 chance.

This makes breast cancer the second most common cancer among women.

Almost everyone in this country unfortunately knows someone who has suffered from breast cancer.

Whether that person is your mother, sister, partner, or friend, the story is always heart wrenching.

Through efforts such as breast cancer awareness month, all of us work to bring about greater breast cancer education, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

But it is stories of some of the brave women with this terrible disease that I want to share today.

Linda Gayle Burrowes never expected to be a statistic.

But for her 49th birthday she received the gift that would save her life.

A friend of hers insisted on giving Linda a mammogram; and the day after Linda's birthday, she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

She is a survivor because this angel sent gift caught the disease early, and Linda was determined that other women would not be like her, leaving their life up to chance.

Three months after her mastectomy, she started the breast cancer support and educational group ``Your Bosom Buddies'', which has meetings the 3rd Thursday of each month at the Women's Health Center at Baptist Hospital in my community.

There is also the story of Mary Lamberts, who is a 9-year breast cancer survivor.

Mary has a history of cancers on both sides of her family, so she always prepared for the worst on her check-ups.

But 90% of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

The diagnosis came after Mary had a mammogram, followed by an ultrasound that same day after her radiologist saw something suspicious.

During the surgery to follow, her doctor found multiple tumors.

Most of the tumors were removed but she had to undergo over 30 treatments of radiation, and remain on a regimen of powerful drugs for years afterwards.

Thankfully, many men and women do survive this terrible disease.

And no one knows the simple gifts in life like a survivor.

Rosa Andreu Vila was diagnosed with breast cancer 12 years ago and went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy, and radiation and has mercifully been in remission.

She has told me that in the 12 years since her diagnosis, due to early detection and treatment, she has been able to see both of her sons graduate from college and be married, and is now a proud first-time grandmother.

These are stories of survivors, but new cases of breast cancer happen every day.

Dr. Frank Mave, a local doctor of osteopathy, is one of the newly diagnosed males with breast cancer and just had surgery this month.

He is only just now beginning his ``long and winding road'' with chemo and radiation, and we pray for him and all others who are on their way to being survivors.

These stories show that there is hope, and people are increasingly surviving breast cancer.

In the United States, breast cancer is becoming one of the most survivable cancers, if the disease is detected early.

And this is the point of breast cancer awareness month.

We must remain vigilant in our efforts to educate and diagnose and treat.

With these three pillars, we can and will save lives.

Let us make sure that we educate one another on the dangers of breast cancer and the need for routine checkups.

In memory of Congresswoman Jo Ann Davis, who passed away at the age of 57 while serving last Congress after a two-year battle with breast cancer;

For all men and women in my community and throughout the United States currently battling this terrible disease;

For my daughters, and my new baby granddaughter Morgan Elizabeth, I thank my friend and colleague Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her leadership on this issue.

Her story serves as an inspiration to all.

Let us make sure our efforts to defeat this terrible disease continue at full force.


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