Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) has earned the National Breast Cancer Coalition's (NBCC) 2012 Congressional Award for his strong leadership and support of potentially life-saving cancer research.
The Coalition specifically recognized the Congressman's work to ensure adequate funding for the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program. Established in 1992, the Defense Department initiative has been recognized as a model medical research program and has been credited with finding new methods of extracting breast cancer cells at their earliest stages and the development of the innovative treatment drug Herceptin.
"Rep. Jim Gerlach believes in our mission to end breast cancer," said Fran Visco, President, National Breast Cancer Coalition and 24-year survivor. "We are grateful for his support. We know that with his support the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program will be able to continue to do the work necessary to save women's lives."
The Congressman said he looks forward to continue working side-by-side with his colleagues in the House and the Coalition on solutions that will help the nearly 300,000 women and men in the United States who will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone.
"Sound medical research has helped millions of women go from being breast cancer patients to being courageous cancer survivors," Gerlach said. "And hopefully this research will produce breakthroughs essential to NBCC's goal of ending breast cancer. It is an honor to be recognized for work that can make a difference in so many lives."
The Congressman has been a consistent supporter of legislation aimed at ending breast cancer.
He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 3067, the proposed Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, which sets a goal of eradicating breast cancer by January 1, 2020. To reach that goal, a national Commission would work on identifying opportunities and ideas that have been overlooked yet are ripe for collaboration and investment and ensuring efficiency and avoiding duplication of efforts.
Gerlach also is working to pass H.R. 111, the proposed Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act. This legislation would prohibit so-called "drive-thru mastectomies" by allowing patients to stay in the hospital for at least 48 hours after the procedure and ensure insurance companies provide coverage for radiation therapy for lumpectomy patients.
And Gerlach was a co-sponsor of a 2008 law known as the Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Act, which provides grants to develop research centers to study possible environmental factors that may lead to breast cancer.