Bayh calls for tripling of breast cancer research funds

U.S. Senator Evan Bayh called for a dramatic increase in breast cancer research funding at a reception for recipients of the Marvella Bayh Memorial Scholarship at Indiana University's Cancer Research Institute on IUPUI's campus today.

While recognizing the advances made since his mother's death from breast cancer in 1979, Bayh highlighted the list of unfunded priorities from national cancer organizations and announced plans that would triple U.S. spending on breast cancer research. The funding is part of a larger proposal Bayh outlined that has an overall goal of eliminating deaths caused by cancer by 2015.

"Doctors at labs like IU's Cancer Research Institute have made great progress in the fight against cancer since my mother died nearly 30 years ago," Senator Bayh said. "But as long as so many research projects go unfunded and possible cures are lost, we cannot say we are doing everything possible to eradicate this terrible disease. That is why I am announcing plans to triple funding for breast cancer research and aggressively improve access to screening and treatment, so that no stone goes unturned in this fight again."

In addition to tripling breast cancer research funding, Bayh's proposed legislation would also include increasing colorectal and breast cancer screening rates by removing Medicare co-pays and extending the window of opportunity for new Medicare beneficiaries to be reimbursed for cancer screenings from six months to a year.

At the reception, Bayh thanked Stephanie Tieken and Elizabeth Gough, this year's recipients of the Marvella Bayh Memorial Scholarship, for their interest in cancer research and spoke about his mother's battle with breast cancer. The students, both from Indiana, join more than 65 first-year, female medical students interested in cancer research who have received the scholarship since it was created in 1979.

In the Senate, Bayh has cosponsored legislation to increase funding for breast and cervical cancer screening by more than $70 million. That bill is only awaiting approval from the President before becoming law. Bayh also has supported the Breast Cancer Research Stamp, which has raised more than $50 million to help find a cure, and has worked to make cancer treatments available to more women. In addition, as Governor of Indiana, Bayh signed legislation that required health insurance programs to include coverage for mammography services.

Marvella Bayh served as the first national spokesperson for the American Cancer Society following her diagnosis of breast cancer, becoming one of the first women to speak publicly about her condition. Since 1979, the Marvella Bayh Memorial Scholarship has provided more than $130,000 in scholarships to first-year, female medical students interested in cancer research. Interested parties can donate to the Scholarship fund through Indiana University Foundation.

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