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Breast Cancer Experts Urge Funding for Minority Screenings

By Robert Preidt
In conjunction with National Mammography Day on Friday, the American Cancer Society is urging people to support legislation that would boost funding for a program designed to reduce racial and ethnic disparities among breast cancer patients in the United States.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Breast Cancer and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) offers breast cancer screening and treatment to low-income, uninsured, and underinsured women.

However, due to inadequate funding, the program can only assist one in five eligible women, the ACS reported. That's why the agency is urging Americans to show their support for this program so that all women have access to breast cancer screening and treatment.

"Income level should not determine whether someone survives breast cancer," Dr. Carolyn D. Runowicz, ACS president and a breast cancer survivor, said in a prepared statement. "While the NBCCEDP has done extraordinary work to save the lives of women from breast and cervical cancer, it serves only 20 percent of eligible women due to lack of funds."

The ACS wants Congress to pass legislation that would reauthorize the NBCCEDP to allow for greater flexibility to reach women in greatest need and increase funding by $48 million so that the program could help an additional 130,000 women.

Since its creation in 1991, the NBCCEDP has provided 5.8 million screening tests to more than 2.5 million women, resulting in the diagnosis of more than 22,000 breast cancer cases, 76,000 precancerous cervical lesion cases, and 1,500 cervical cancer cases.

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