NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
June 23, 2005


Assembly Passes Legislation Aimed at Eliminating Cervical Cancer

Greene Bill Part of 'National Challenge to Eliminate Cervical Cancer' Campaign

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene announced the Assembly passed legislation yesterday evening to help reduce the number of women in New York State who die each year of cervical cancer. The bill is scheduled for final legislative passage today.

Assembly bill 8827 would expand the Breast cancer and education program advisory council to include responsibility for cervical cancer. Citing the high cervical cancer incidence and mortality rate, particularly among African American and Hispanic women, the lawmakers said the advisory council would be charged with raising public awareness on;

  • causes and nature of cervical cancer;
  • value of early detection;
  • options for testing;
  • treatment costs;
  • new technology; and,
  • medical care reimbursement.

Additionally, the advisory council, in conjunction with the state Department of Health, would be responsible for developing and promoting a comprehensive cervical cancer prevention plan.

"Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women worldwide, second only to breast cancer. Public education can have a tremendous impact on reducing mortality, particularly among underserved communities. Because cervical cancer is completely preventable with regular and accurate screening, as a state, we have an obligation to increase public awareness of this completely preventable disease," said Silver (D-Manhattan).

"No woman should die of cervical cancer when we have technology available that can better identify women needing early intervention," said Greene (D-Bronx). "We now know what causes cervical cancer and have new technologies - such as HPV testing- that can make its elimination a reality. Together with the continued development of a possible vaccine against the human papillomavirus (HPV), we can take significant strides in ensuring the cervical cancer becomes a thing of the past."

Citing a report released earlier this year by Women In Government, a national, non-profit, bi-partisan organization of women state legislators, Greene said that while New York had cervical cancer rates below the national average almost 15 percent of women in New York remain unscreened. Additionally, she noted 18 percent of New York women between the ages of 18 and 64 do not have health insurance, which affects their ability to seek care.

"Every woman - no matter what her socioeconomic status - must be informed of the need for regular screening. And she must have access to the most up-to-date, preventative technology," said Greene.

"It is with a determined sense of commitment to those who have suffered from cervical cancer and those who have lost a loved one to this disease that the Assembly Majority continues its quest to advance public policy that makes the health and safety of all New Yorkers a legislative priority. The potential benefits of this initiative are far too great to ignore," said Silver.