National Leaders, Patients Advocate for

Breast Cancer Screening, Early Detection

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network leaders, two congresswomen and breast cancer survivors at Capital Breast Care Center Oct. 4 to underscore the importance of screening and early detection.

CBCC Event(Left to Right) Tanya Snyder, breast cancer survivor and wife of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, NFL spokeswoman for A Crucial Catch, Dr. Louis Weiner, Director, Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Secretary of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), Beth L. Beck, Executive Director, Capital Breast Care Center, Stacey Ferguson, a high-risk recipient of cancer screening, and Christopher Hansen, president, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Capital Breast Care Center (CBCC), located in southeast Washington, D.C., is an initiative of Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. The event kicked off Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which falls in October.

The center is one of the largest providers in the area of the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP), which has provided low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to life-saving breast and cervical cancer screenings since 1991.

One in Eight

“This disease touches us all, friends, neighbors, mothers, aunts,” Sebelius said. “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and no women in America should go without the care they need.”

U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) spoke at the event about her own breast cancer diagnosis at age 41 after finding a lump during a self-breast exam. She now advocates for the importance of early detection.

The congresswoman, who has been an active supporter of CBCC for a few years, also addressed the need to cater cancer care to specific age groups because there are “different experiences and challenges that are unique to younger women."

Drawing Inspiration

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) also attended the event, as did cancer survivor Tanya Snyder, wife of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

Stacey Ferguson, a high-risk recipient of cancer screenings through the national program, stressed the importance of facilities such as CBCC that offer support and care.

“For [Georgetown Lombardi and CBCC, the 10 millionth screening being marked this month by this pioneering federal program is more than a number,” says Louis M. Weiner, MD, director of Georgetown Lombardi. “It represents millions of women who lived to raise their children and to know their grandchildren, and to impact the communities where they live and work.”

Needed More than Ever

Ferguson has been personally affected by cancer, losing her close loved ones to many forms of progressive cancer.

At CBCC today, she said she understands the “fear factor” that can arise when patients are apprehensive about the screening process.

“Due to the economy today this program is needed more than ever and has given me a fighting chance,” Ferguson said.

Also participating in the event recognizing life-saving cancer screening programs were John Seffrin, CEO, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network and Christopher W. Hansen, president, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network.

Breast cancer will kill nearly 40,000 women in America this year, making it the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women.

By Kate Brazauskas, GUMC Communications
(Published October 4, 2011)