Amb. Nancy Brinker, Komen Founder and CEO,
speaks at the Congressional breakfast
Anita McFarlane, MPH, Komen Greater NYC Director of Grants and Public Policy, and Zenia Dacio-Mesina, Grants Program Coordinator, traveled to the nation’s capital on April 14th, joining nearly 200 breast cancer activists from Komen Affiliates across the country, to remind our nation’s leaders of the importance of early detection – and to challenge policy makers to invest in cancer research to bring forward the next generation of treatment options and screening technology. The day’s visits came as Susan G. Komen for the Cure® announced its latest investment, $55 million this year alone, for research into some of the most complex and challenging issues related to breast cancer, research that will one day give us the cures.
While on Capitol Hill for the day, Anita and Zenia met with nine legislators or legislative aides from the greater New York City area – Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY) Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-NY), Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), and Rep. Nydia Velasquez (D-NY) – and met with staff from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) office. The legislators and their staffs showed great interest in breast cancer issues, particularly as they relate to the medically underserved.
During each meeting, Anita and Zenia stressed the importance of maintaining the government’s commitment to vital safety net programs, such as the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, known in New York State as the Cancer Services Program. In their meetings, the Komen Greater NYC staff sought support for a joint resolution which reaffirms Congress’ support for breast health programs, particularly those for the uninsured and underinsured. The resolution notes that, in just 30 years, five-year relative survival rates for breast cancer when found before it spreads beyond the breast has increased from 74 percent to 98 percent – but plummets to 23 percent when cancer has spread to other parts of the body. That’s why detecting breast cancers early is the key – later diagnoses ultimately leads to lost lives and most costly treatment, which further strains the health care safety net.
As part of reaffirming its commitment to cancer research, legislators were asked to support the reauthorization of the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, which is up for renewal this year. Since it first appeared in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service has sold more than 903 million breast cancer research stamps, which has generated over $73 million for breast cancer research.