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EARLY Act Included In Senate Health Reform Legislation

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for inclusion of breast cancer provisions in sweeping health insurance reform legislation that saves lives, saves money, and saves Medicare. The EARLY Act (Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act) was included in the Manager's Amendment to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act which passed the Senate early Monday morning.

"I am delighted that the EARLY Act has been included as part of the Senate's health reform bill, and that we are a giant step closer to ensuring that all young women have the tools and resources they need to practice good breast health and detect breast cancer early," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz (FL-20).

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz personally met with Senator Harry Reid about including SB 994, the Senate version of the EARLY Act sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), in the manager's amendment of the health reform legislation. Sen. Reid shared her concerns about young women's lack of knowledge and awareness about their breast health, and made it clear that he would do everything he could to include these important provisions in the Senate health care reform bill.

"Sen. Klobuchar has championed this legislation and worked hard to get it included in the Senate bill," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "Young women throughout America will benefit from her hard work and advocacy."

"It gives me great pride that Senator Reid included the EARLY Act in the Senate's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "This once again demonstrates Congress's steadfast commitment to protecting the health of our nation's women. I look forward to continuing to work with Senators Reid, Klobuchar, and all of my colleagues as this critical health care legislation moves through the conference process."

The EARLY Act directs the Centers for Disease Control to develop and implement a national education campaign to increase awareness of breast health, family history, and the threats posed by breast cancer in young women. The legislation has the support of more than 40 advocacy organizations, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance.

"I know that as a breast cancer survivor, I would not have found my cancer early without knowledge and awareness," said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. "To combat breast cancer we need to ensure that every young woman in America can rely upon education and awareness, not simply luck."

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in young women ages 20 to 45, according to the American Cancer Society. In 2009 alone, the American Cancer Society estimates that there will be more than 25,000 new cases of breast cancer in women younger than 45 and approximately eight of these young women will die from the disease each day.

Last week, the House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution authored by Rep. Wasserman Schultz expressing the "sense of the House of Representatives" regarding recent breast cancer screening guidelines by the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) that relate to women age 40 to 49.

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