Experts Testify on Pending Breast Cancer Legislation
On October 7, a panel of cancer survivors, advocates, and researchers testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health, at a hearing on the Eliminating Disparities in Breast Cancer Treatment Act of 2009. Panel members included Dr. Stephen Taplin, chief of NCI’s Applied Cancer Screening Research Branch; Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society; Jenny Luray, president of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Advocacy Alliance; Debra L. Ness, president of the National Partnership for Women and Families; Fran Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition; and Dr. Marisa C. Weiss, president and founder of Breastcancer.org.
The legislators and panelists called for greater emphasis on tailoring prevention and treatment to an individual’s risk, improved early detection methods, and increased access to health care that covers the entire screening and treatment process. Dr. Taplin stressed the need for additional research to improve the accuracy of breast cancer screening to avoid overtreatment, and he discussed the importance of addressing screening as a multi-step process.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) is working on a new version of the EARLY Act, which drew concerns from many in the medical and scientific community when it was first introduced in March 2009. The revised bill will designate the CDC to lead the development of the educational messages required by the legislation, and those messages will focus on evidence-based actions that affect breast health over a woman’s lifetime.
More information on the hearing, including witness statements, can be found on the Committee Web site.For more information about this and other NCI congressional activity, visit the NCI Office of Government and Congressional Relations Web site.
Congressional Delegation Visits NIH
Fifteen members of Congress and 16 congressional staffers gathered at the NIH Clinical Center on October 6 to learn about NIH ventures, successes, challenges, and future directions. Rep. Ron Klein (D-FL), who requested and organized the visit, opened with congratulatory remarks to Dr. Francis Collins on his appointment as NIH director. In subsequent presentations, Dr. Collins provided an overview of NIH, introducing issues ranging from NIH’s contemporary role in medicine to evolving public health challenges. NIH Deputy Director Dr. Raynard Kington spoke about the impact of stimulus funding.
NCI Director Dr. John E. Niederhuber opened the presentation on cancer research at NIH and introduced Drs. Lee Helman, acting clinical director of NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, and Steven Rosenberg, chief of NCI’s Surgery Branch, who discussed new avenues in cancer research, focusing particularly on personalized medicine, targeted therapy, and immunotherapy. The congressional delegation also heard a presentation on the H1N1 virus by NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
This was the largest congressional delegation to visit the NIH campus to date, and it provided NCI the opportunity to demonstrate how appropriated funds are being used.