Breast cancer survivors and advocates from across Texas traveled to Austin yesterday to stress to policymakers the importance of programs that help detect breast cancer early. Organized by the state’s 13 Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Affiliates, the breast cancer advocates also urged lawmakers to maintain their commitment to cancer research, preserving the Lone Star State’s leading position in the pursuit of discovering and delivering the cures to cancer.
“We fully understand the tough economic situation our elected leaders face and the difficult choices they must make,” said Christy CaseyMoore, executive director for the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®. “It’s important to remember that early detection through regular cancer screening is a key to surviving breast cancer. For many women, the state’s screening program ensures that a lost job or lost insurance doesn’t result in a lost life.”
Representatives from the Komen Austin Affiliate met with Sen. Glen Hegar, Sen. Steve Ogden, Sen. Kirk Watson, Rep. Larry Gonzales, Rep. Dawnna Dukes, Rep. Charles Schwertner, Rep. Donna Howard, Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, Rep. Paul Workman, Rep. Elliott Naishtat, Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, Rep. Jason Issac, and Rep. Mark Strama and stressed the importance of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Services Program, which provides education, outreach and screening services to uninsured and underinsured women. The program, they noted, is essential for detecting cancers early. The 5-year survival rate for breast cancer when found early is 98 percent, but plummets to 23 percent when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
“We are all just one biopsy away from a changed life. That’s why we need to focus on prevention and early detection measures so that we begin treatment early, when it’s more successfully and cost effectively treated,” said CaseyMoore.
Komen advocates also urged policymakers to maintain their full support for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute (CPRIT) this budget cycle. CPRIT, created by Texas voters in 2007, allows the State of Texas to issue $3 billion in general obligation bonds over ten years to fund grants for cancer research and prevention.
“Texas has long been a leader in cancer research. While these are difficult budget times, now is not the time to slow our investments in science,” said CaseyMoore.
The Komen Affiliates noted that they are critical community partners. Since 1982, Komen has awarded more than $72 million in research grants in Texas to Baylor College of Medicine, Baylor Research Institute, Baylor University, Cancer Research Foundation of North Texas, Montrose Counseling Center, National Center for Farmworker Health, Parkland Memorial Hospital, Planned Parenthood Association of Cameron and Willacy, Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas Woman’s University, University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Medical Branch, Galveston, University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center, University of Texas Health Science Center and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
The 13 Komen Affiliates that serve Texas invested over $15.2 million in their local communities last year for early detection and treatment of breast cancer, breast health education and outreach. Nationwide, Komen Affiliates invested a total of $130 million in their local communities.
About the Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure®
The Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure was established in 1999 and money raised by participants of the Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure® is put directly back into the community. The 2011 Susan G. Komen Austin Race for the Cure will be held on Sunday, November 13th in downtown Austin. Since its inception, the Komen Austin Affiliate has provided more than $9 million in funding to local community clinics, hospitals and health care organizations for breast screening, diagnosis and treatment, and research for a cure. For more information about the organization, please visit www.komenaustin.org or www.komen.org.
Austin Affiliate of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure®
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PHOTO: Texas Senator Jane Nelson with Susan G. Komen Affiliate representatives proclaiming February 16, 2011 as Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Day in Texas.