Hearing on Capitol Hill focuses on four proposals to help fight breast cancer
At a legislative hearing in October, lawmakers called on Congress to make a more concerted effort to fight breast cancer.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee invited medical experts and breast cancer advocates to Capitol Hill to discuss the importance of four separate bills dealing with breast cancer early detection, prevention, quality of life and treatment.
Stephen Taplin, M.D., M.P.H, chief of the applied cancer screening research branch in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Science at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), testified that great strides have been made in improving early detection and treatment of breast cancer, but went on to say that much more research is needed. In a prepared statement, he explained that more research would improve the screening process and lead to the identification biomarkers of risk, cancer progression and treatment response, eventually making personalized screening a reality.
Providing more effective and appropriate screening was the focus of two of the bills highlighted during the hearing: H.R. 1740, the Breast Cancer Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act of 2009 and H.R. 995, the Mammogram and MRI Availability Act of 2009. Also discussed were H.R. 1691, the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act of 2009, which would require that health plans provide coverage for a minimum hospital stay for breast cancer treatment procedures, and H.R. 2279, the Eliminating Disparities in Breast Cancer Treatment Act of 2009, which would create incentives and requirements for adequate care for all women, regardless of race, income or health insurance status.
Subcommittee Chairman Frank Pallone expressed hope that some of the provisions in the breast cancer bills would be addressed in the pending health care reform package, but that it was still important for legislators to begin moving forward on the bills.
Read more from the November 2009 Edition of the AACR Cancer Policy Monitor: