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October 16, 2001

Leading Breast Cancer Experts Address Congressional Leaders About Narrowing Bench-to-Bedside Gap

Leaders in Fight Against Breast Cancer Seek Ways to Deliver Promising New Treatments to Patients More Quickly

 (SafetyAlerts) -  The House Cancer Caucus, in conjunction with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation today will host a congressional briefing on the disparity in breast cancer patient care -- Delivering Promises to Patients: Bridging the Bench-to-Bedside Gap. The briefing will address the difficulties in translating the latest scientific research advances into tangible improvements in primary medical care. In addition, the Caucus will discuss possible solutions to eliminating this disparity and what government's role might be in the process.

"Thanks to innovative research, breast cancer knowledge is at an all-time high," said Susan Braun, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and moderator of today's briefing. "However, while our knowledge base is rapidly increasing, the gap between what the scientific community knows and the treatment options available to patients is widening. The Komen Foundation is committed to closing this gap. Today's briefing will shed new light on improving quality of care for breast cancer patients."

Diane Balma, J.D., a breast cancer survivor and Senior Counsel and Director of Public Policy for the Komen Foundation, will deliver opening remarks at the briefing, which will be held from noon until 1:30 p.m. in the U.S. House of Representatives' Rayburn building. Speakers will include:

* Victoria Seewaldt, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medical Oncology, Duke
* Eric Berger, Vice President, Planning and Public Policy, U.S. Oncology
* Kathy LaTour, breast cancer survivor; Author, The Breast Cancer
Companion; and Senior Lecturer, Southern Methodist University

"We commend the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation for leading the effort in studying quality of care for breast cancer in the United States and are dedicated to working collaboratively toward closing the bench-to-bedside gap," said U.S. Rep. Ken Bentsen, (D-TX), Co-Chairman of the House Cancer Caucus.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is a leader in the effort to assure quality of care for breast cancer patients in the United States. Last year, the Foundation pledged $1 million toward a pioneering American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) study, which seeks to develop a national monitoring system for cancer care. The study is assessing the feasibility of a national cancer care monitoring system by examining the quality of care received by a sample group of adult breast and colorectal cancer patients.

"Today's House Cancer Caucus briefing is an opportunity for the Foundation to share its objectives regarding quality of care with Congressional leaders and to ask for their support in addressing these critical issues in the fight against breast cancer," Braun said.

Specific issues that will be addressed include: maintaining key research funding levels; working to measure the disincentives that block rapid dissemination of proven innovations; expanding specialist education opportunities; reducing the paperwork burden and streamlining the processes for providing reimbursement codes for new technology; and creating expanded access mechanisms that will ensure that the newer targeted biological innovations are available quickly to patients for whom other treatment options have been exhausted.

The Komen Foundation has initiated and supported numerous advocacy and public policy initiatives to increase awareness and funding for: innovative and cutting-edge research in the areas of diagnosis, treatment and long-term care; patient rights and privacy issues; clinical trial funding and enrollment; survivorship programs; and grassroots advocacy training to address and advance local concerns.

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 1982 by Nancy Brinker to honor the memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who died of breast cancer at the age of 36. Since its inception in 1982 through fiscal year 1999, the Komen Foundation and its Affiliate Network have raised more than $300 million to support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment programs. The Foundation has more than 70,000 volunteers working through a network of U.S. and international Affiliates and Komen Race for the Cure(R) events to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease. The Komen Foundation has a National Toll-Free Breast Care Helpline that is answered by trained caring volunteers whose lives have been personally touched by breast cancer. For response to questions, local resources, or moral support call 1.800 I'M AWARE(R) (1.800.462.9273). For the latest breast health information and Komen Foundation news and activities, visit the Foundation's award-winning Website at:

Source: PRNewswire.

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