October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and celebrate the patients, family and friends who have battled this deadly disease.
By the end of this year, more than 40,000 women will die from breast cancer, including nearly 2,800 Floridians.
Unfortunately, those figures from the American Cancer Society represent a small fraction of those that will face breast cancer. Across the United States, about one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime.
An estimated 2,600 American men also will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016.
For years, researchers have made great strides in the fight against this disease. But as the most common type of cancer among women in the U.S., with the exception of skin cancer, far too many families have experienced the pain of watching their loved ones battle this devastating illness.
Early detection and prevention can help save lives. With my strong support, Congress has passed several anti-cancer bills into law. These bills have helped to improve federal research on breast cancer and start a nationwide education and outreach campaign to highlight the breast cancer risks facing young women.
But our work is far from complete, and will not be until we eradicate breast cancer once and for all.
That’s why, in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I’m urging Congress to immediately pass two new bipartisan bills aimed at combating this deadly disease.
The 21st Century Cures Act would increase funding for disease research at the National Institutes of Health by $1.75 billion a year for the next five years and speed up Food and Drug Administration approval for new drugs. The U.S. House passed this historic bill in June of 2015 but it has since been stalled in the Senate.
This life-saving legislation will give a major boost to efforts to end breast cancer. Many experts believe that a cure for cancer is within our reach so we should invest in continued cutting-edge research and quicker development of new treatments.
I’m encouraged that congressional leaders have recently said that this measure will be a top priority when Congress returns, and I hope we can move quickly to get the bill to the president for his signature.
Additionally, I’m urging my colleagues to approve the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, legislation I co-sponsored to create a panel of the nation’s top researchers, breast cancer advocates and business leaders with the goal of eradicating breast cancer by 2020. This measure will help focus our nation’s attention on better treatments for breast cancer and encourage collaboration among the public and private sector with the shared goal of completely eliminating the illness.
The bipartisan bill has been endorsed by the National Breast Cancer Coalition.
Not too long ago, Republicans and Democrats came together and passed a sweeping bill to take on the deadly heroin epidemic. We should do the same to combat breast cancer.
Today there are roughly 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. The best way for Congress to honor those we’ve lost, those who have survived and those currently battling breast cancer is to ensure that our nation is working to eliminate this deadly disease.