WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today delivered a speech on the Senate floor in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
More than 2 million people worldwide are predicted to contract breast cancer this year, including about 279,000 Americans.
“As October comes to a close, let us reflect on breast cancer victims not only in the final days of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but throughout the year. Know the risk factors and the warning signs, and screen regularly to catch it early. Doing so saves lives,” said Dr. Cassidy.
View Cassidy’s remarks on YouTube here.
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Cassidy’s full speech as prepared for delivery can be found below:
Mr. / Madam President,
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I rise today to pay my respects to those who have lost their lives and to thank those who work so hard to save these patients.
This year, it is estimated that there will be 276,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer among women and 2,620 new cases among men. Another 48,530 women are estimated to contract ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS).
42,690 Americans are predicted to lose their lives due to breast cancer this year.
Breast cancer is, of course, hardest on the patient, but her diagnosis has a ripple effect throughout the entire family.
My wife, Dr. Laura Cassidy, is a retired breast cancer surgeon, so this is an issue that has always been very near to our family. Laura has witnessed time and again a family’s sorrow for losing a mother, a grandmother, aunts and daughters. Such deaths are felt forever when these core family members lose their fight with cancer.
Likewise, we’ve been inspired by the fight these patients have and their will to live. To take on this disease takes courage beyond non-patients’ understanding, and their resiliency and determination are always moving.
The support of family and friends during this battle means more to the patient than the family will ever know. So, I encourage those who know someone with cancer to reach out. Simply being there can make a tremendous difference in the fight to survive.
There is always hope.
Though a cancer diagnosis can be shocking and the path ahead can seem daunting, there are steps women can take to identify the disease early. Early detection greatly improves the odds of a positive outcome.
The American Cancer Society advises women aged 40-44 to consult with their health care provider for regular clinical exams and for guidance on when it is best to have a mammogram.
Women aged 45-54 should have a mammogram annually. Those older than 54 and in good health should have a mammogram every two years.
People should also do self-exams to check for warning signs. These can be changes in the look or feel and possible discharge. The presence of a lump, swelling, discoloration, and changes in size and shape are common signs. If these signs are present, a patient should consult her or his health care provider.
In addition to early detection, there are steps people can take to identify and reduce their risk of contracting breast cancer.
Age is a primary risk factor – the older you get, the higher your risk.
Women who have children after age 35 may be at higher risk. The more children a woman has birthed can also lower risk.
Women who had their first period before age 11 may also be at higher risk; and those who experience menopause after age 55 have a 40 percent higher risk of breast cancer.
Excessive alcohol use, elevated amounts of estrogen, the use of birth control bills, and a family history of certain types of cancer can also increase the risk.
There are steps to take to reduce risk. Regular exercise can reduce the risk by as much as 20 percent. Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast cancer. Eating fruits and vegetables, especially carotenoids, can reduce risk.
As October comes to a close, let us reflect on breast cancer victims not only in the final days of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but throughout the year. Know the risk factors and the warning signs, and screen regularly to catch it early. Doing so saves lives.
Thank you; I yield back.