Breast cancer is a disease that affects us all. According to the American Cancer Society, there were an estimated 1,630 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in Mississippi in 2008, and 440 women died of this disease.
While we don’t yet have a cure, it is a proven fact that early detection can save lives.
That’s why I cosponsored the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young (EARLY) Act, an education and outreach campaign spearheaded by Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) that will provide important and necessary resources for woman under the age of 40 to help prevent and fight the effects of this disease.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women under the age of 40. More than 10,000 young women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and over 1,000 of these women die. Despite these statistics, many young women mistakenly believe that breast cancer only affects older women. Subsequently, life-saving diagnoses are delayed. And, although the incidence of young women with breast cancer is much lower than in older women, young women’s breast cancers are generally more aggressive and result in lower survival rates.
My mother and several other women in my family have had breast cancer. They’ve experienced firsthand the challenges of overcoming this disease, and know that the earlier breast cancer is detected, the better.
The EARLY Act will help young women and providers identify the specific threats and warning signs of breast cancer that lead to early diagnoses, inform them of prevention efforts, and provide assistance to organizations to support woman who have been diagnosed.
I encourage constituents to continue raising awareness about the importance of early breast cancer screening and detection for young women, and look forward to the introduction of this important legislation in Congress.
Travis Childers is 1st District congressman. Contact him at (202) 225-4306 or by visiting his Web site at www.childers.house.gov