This summer, over 100 ovarian cancer survivors and caregivers congregated in Washington DC to ask Congress for appropriations for ovarian cancer programs. I was fortunate to be among them.
Amidst government budget crisis and health care reform, doing this work takes nerves of steel. There is every reason to be rejected - or worse. But the empowered group went to Capitol Hill, telling the stories of constituents from across America.
The requests were miniscule by federal budget standards but sorely needed by the ovarian cancer community, which has experienced virtually no improvement in the death rate in 30 years.
First, Johanna’s Law: the Gynecologic Cancer Education and Awareness Act, passed by the 109th Congress and signed into law in 2007, requires funding of $10 million to implement education programs for women and health care providers about early diagnosis.
Second, another $10 million is sought for the Ovarian Cancer Control Initiative at the Center for Disease Control, to continue exploration into optimal care, patterns of diagnosis and risk.
Finally, a $30 million appropriation would allow the Department of Defense Ovarian Cancer Research Program to continue innovative methods of studying early detection, screening and treatment of ovarian cancer as well as attract new investigators to the field.
When Citizens Against Government Waste reports current funding of $41 million for three presidential libraries, $7 million for sea turtles, $4.5 million for wood utilization research, $3 million to access NASA images, and over $2 million to research grape genetics, ovarian cancer funding should be an easy sell . . . but it’s not.
This isn't special interest. Women’s health is of paramount importance to every state, every culture, every family in every corner of our society. Every woman is at risk.
In 2009, approximately 21,550 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer.
Every 37 minutes, a woman will die from it.
Take a stand on women’s health. It’s your right.
http://www.ovariancancer.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Page.viewPage&pageId=474 (Ovarian Cancer National Alliance)