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Clintons Call For Breast Cancer Awareness


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 25) -- President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton called for a stepped-up national breast cancer awareness campaign in a rare joint radio address Saturday.

The Clintons also announced new federal rules to improve the quality of the mammograms women undergo to detect breast cancer.

"We know that early detection is the most potent weapon we possess in our battle against breast cancer," the president said. "And we know that mammography is the best way to detect breast cancer so that it can be treated before it's too late."

"We must work even harder to reach women who, because of income, language or cultural barriers, are the least likely to get mammograms," the first lady said.

New regulations from the Food and Drug Administration are aimed at elevating quality-control standards for mammography. The new rules clarify standards for hiring technicians and using better equipment that produces clearer and more accurate images.

The regulations also require facilities to display their FDA certification and to fully inform patients of the results of a mammogram so that follow-up testing and treatment can begin immediately.

A public awareness campaign, spearheaded by the National Cancer Institute, will encourage more older women to receive regular mammograms to allow early detection and treatment of breast cancer, said President Clinton, whose mother, Virginia Kelley, died of the disease in 1995.

"With these steps, we're giving women and their families a powerful tool to fight breast cancer and new hope that the fight can be won," he said.

The education program will provide women and doctors with the latest breast cancer research and recommendations for early detection.

The president said the campaign would encourage women in their 40s and older to get regular screening mammograms. The information will be distributed to community groups, doctors and to other health care facilities around the country.

"These publications will reach thousands of women with a simple message: Mammograms are available, effective and safe, and they can save your life," he said.

The National Cancer Institute recommended earlier this year that women 40 years of age and older have a mammogram every one to two years.

But 33 percent of women ages 50 to 64 and 45 percent of women over age 65 reported they had not received a mammogram in the last two years, according to the White House.

Health officials say early detection and treatment can reduce deaths from breast cancer. Early detection followed by prompt treatment can reduce the risk of death by as much as 30 percent, experts say.

"Mammography can mean the difference between life and death for millions of women," the first lady said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that 180,000 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and almost 44,000 would die from the disease.

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