American Cancer Society Supports Legislation Reauthorizing National Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program

June 1, 2006

WASHINGTON — June 1, 2006 — The American Cancer Society today announced its
support for a House bill on the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection
Program (NBCCEDP), and asks all Members of Congress to show their support for this
successful program that provides breast and cervical cancer screenings to uninsured
women. The legislation, H.R. 5472, which was introduced by Representatives Sue
Myrick (R-NC) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) last week, would reauthorize the
NBCCEDP and give states greater flexibility to reach more women who are eligible and
in need. The bill would also add $48 million in funding for the program allowing it to
serve at least an additional 130,000 more women.

“Even with the enormous progress we’ve made in cancer over the last two
decades, one area where we are still struggling is access to care,” said Daniel E. Smith,
the Society’s national vice president of government relations. “Mammograms and Pap
smears are not luxury items for women in this country, they’re a necessity. This program
helps deliver these critical screenings to women who otherwise cannot afford them,
saving lives and giving hope to millions.”

Established in 1991 and administered by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (CDC), the NBCCEDP provides breast and cervical cancer screenings,
follow-up services and information to women most at risk, such as low-income,
uninsured or underinsured women. The United States Senate has already introduced a
companion bill for the NBCCEDP. Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Kay Bailey
Hutchison (R-TX) are the sponsors of S. 1687, which was introduced in September.

At current funding levels, the program is only able to help one out of every five
(20 %) eligible women. That number decreases to as low as five percent in states like
Mississippi where need is even greater. Compounding this crisis is the proposed cut of
$1.4 million for the NBCCEDP in the President’s 2007 budget request. Two weeks ago
the Society partnered with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to host a
Capitol Hill briefing for congressional staff on the NBCCEDP. The briefing featured
leadership from both organizations, the CDC, and a personal account by one woman
whose breast cancer was detected through the program. Speakers focused on the
program’s impact on reducing disparities in cancer care and the current challenges
afflicting it due to program restrictions and limited funding.

“In the decades that scientists and physicians have been investigating ways to
defeat cancer one theme has been constant—early detection saves lives,” said Carolyn D.
Runowicz, MD, the Society’s national volunteer president. “The NBCCEDP provides
early detection through screening and reaches underserved and underinsured women who
need this the most. Millions of American women have benefited from this program and
there are millions more who are awaiting entry into it. To further diminish their chances
by stripping resources would be going against scientific, economic and medical common

To date, the NBCCEDP has provided nearly six million screening tests to 2.5
million women, detecting more than 22,000 breast cancers and 76,000 pre-cancerous
cervical lesions. The Society estimates that 1,399,790 Americans will be diagnosed with
cancer in 2006 and another 564,830 will die from the disease, 45,000 from breast and
cervical cancer.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health
problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research,
education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in
Atlanta, Georgia, the Society has 13 regional Divisions and local offices in 3,400
communities, involving millions of volunteers across America. For more information
anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit

Colleen Wilber
American Cancer Society
[email protected]

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