Lifton Legislation Helps Breast Cancer Patients

Assembly passes bill to fund community clinics for breast cancer outreach
June 1, 2005

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton (D-Tompkins/Cortland) announced her bill authorizing grants through the Breast Cancer Detection and Advisory Council to community groups providing counseling, education and outreach services to post-diagnosis breast cancer patients, passed the Assembly (A.2069).

"The measure builds a network of support for persons diagnosed with the breast cancer to answer questions about the illness, treatment and prognosis and to lessen the physical and emotional stress they face," Lifton said. "Breast cancer patients have to be informed and involved throughout their lives to guard against reoccurrence. My legislation establishes the funding to help organizations monitor the ongoing health of breast cancer patients, even after remission."

Unlike most cancers, breast cancer may recur 10, 20, or 30 years after the original diagnosis, requiring a lifetime of vigilant monitoring. New York State has committed significant resources to breast cancer research and early detection, but there are few state-supported initiatives addressing the post-diagnosis needs of tens of thousands of women and men in New York State who live with the disease.

Diagnosis rates for breast cancer have increased although deaths from the disease have decreased. The decline in the mortality rate is likely due to early detection and improved treatment. Still, the disease kills thousands. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 40,410 women and 460 men will lose their lives this year to breast cancer. "If we can augment our present care with additional counseling, we might be able to save one more life, one family member or friend," Lifton said. "We have to try."

Lifton’s bill requires Senate approval and the governor’s signature before becoming law. "There is no question that the services my legislation proposes are necessary," Lifton said. There is no doubt that the Senate should take the responsible action and pass the measure. The proposal can help save lives."