October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it’s an opportunity to remember the importance of cancer screening and prevention. Breast cancer affects tens of thousands of women and families every year throughout the United States, and the chance of a woman contracting this disease in her lifetime is one in eight. Those statistics are not to be taken lightly.
My wife Wendy lost her mother to this disease when she was just 6 years old. Her loss serves as a constant reminder to our family, including our three daughters, of how important it is to continue raising awareness about breast cancer and increasing resources to fight the disease.
I know many Louisianans have loved ones, friends, neighbors or coworkers who are affected. That’s why elevating breast cancer prevention and early detection, increasing research, and expanding access to care will all help combat this disease.
I’ve been working on several initiatives in Congress to fight the disease. One is my legislation to expand access to mobile mammography services. This would help provide more on-site mammograms to women in both urban and rural areas that may not currently receive screenings and preventive care. We could give thousands more women a fighting chance to combat this terrible disease through early detection.
I’ve also joined Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Congresswomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.) in introducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Breast Health Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or the EARLY Act. It was signed into law in 2010 and created an education and outreach campaign administered to highlight breast cancer risks, and reauthorizing it is one of my priorities.
I’ll continue working on these and other issues to make sure that women battling breast cancer aren’t denied access to life-saving screenings or treatment that may extend their lives and their time with loved ones. And I encourage you to do your part by encouraging your family, friends and neighbors to get early detection and preventive screenings.