Beating Breast Cancer EARLY: Where do we go from here?

Rep. Wasserman Schultz hosts panel discussion on breast cancer report

 WASHINGTON – Breast cancer is a disease that knows no boundaries. It strikes women from all backgrounds, races, and ethnicities, the rich and the poor, the old and the young.

A recent health care study has found that more young women between the ages of 25 – 39 are being diagnosed with advanced stages of breast cancer. To talk about why this is happening, what is being done to address it, and where we go from here, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) hosted a panel discussion on Tuesday, March 19, in Washington D.C.

Wasserman Schultz was joined by expert researchers and advocates to discuss the progress of the past three years and learn more about the path forward. The timing of the panel is fitting, as it is Women’s History Month and just days before the third anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law.

After battling breast cancer at 41 years old, Rep. Wasserman Schultz wanted to do something to help educate other young women about the importance of knowing the risks and warning signs. In March of 2009, she introduced the Education and Awareness Requires Learning Young Act, or EARLY Act, and it became law as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010.

One of the panelists on Tuesday was Dr. Rebecca Johnson, who co-authored the recent study on the rise of breast cancer in young women, and is the medical director of the adolescent and young adult oncology program at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Other panelists included Dr. Ann Partridge at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, where she is the founder and director of Program for Young Women with Breast Cancer, as well as the director of the Adult Survivorship Program; Dr. Brandon Hayes-Lattin, the medical director for the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Program, and he also serves as a senior medical advisor for LIVESTRONG; Jennifer Merschdorf, the Chief Executive Officer of the Young Survival Coalition, which works to help young women with breast cancer; Rochelle Shoretz, the founder and Executive Director of Sharsheret, a national organization supporting young Jewish women facing breast cancer; Maimah Karmo, the founder of the Tigerlily Foundation, a breast cancer support, education and advocacy organization; and Desiree Walker, a breast cancer survivor and advocate. Seven of the eight panelists are breast cancer survivors.


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