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October 21, 1998

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If we do what we must, if we act together and press our advances against the scourge of cancer, then the dawn of a new century can be a dawn of a new era of human health.

President Bill Clinton
October 21, 1998

Today, President Clinton joins First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton at a White House event in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During the event, the President will announce the passage by Congress of the budget agreement, and discuss increased investments made in cancer research that will fund new clinical trials, including one of Herceptin, a drug used to treat breast cancer. The First Lady will announce the launch of new clinical trials of two drugs that are thought to reduce the risk of getting breast cancer, unveil an expanded mammography outreach campaign and release a five-year report from the Federal Coordinating Committee on Breast Cancer that outlines the progress made in breast cancer research, prevention, and treatment.

Standing With America's Families. Today, the Congress passed a fiscally responsible budget that reflects the President's commitment to invest in our people and strengthen our economy as we move into the 21st Century. This budget honors our duty of fiscal responsibility and meets the President's challenge to save the surplus until Social Security is reformed. This budget will also expand opportunity by: beginning to hire 100,000 new teachers, reducing class sizes in grades 1-3, and providing thousands of tutors to help children read. The budget also recognizes our commitment to environmental protection, our obligations to the International Monetary Fund, and helps struggling farmers who face natural disasters and declining export markets.

Providing Critical Resources For Cancer Research. As part of the budget agreement, Congress granted a significant down-payment on the President's 21st Century Research Fund. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will receive a total budget of $2.9 billion this fiscal year. This funding will enable NCI to fund critical new research activities, including one to expand the use of Herceptin to treat breast cancer earlier. The First Lady will also announce a new clinical trial to examine tamoxifen, a drug that has been show to reduce the risk of breast cancer, and raloxifene, which researchers believe may also reduce the risk of breast cancer. The unique STAR trial will involve 22,000 women at increased risk of breast cancer and is scheduled to open at approximately 400 sites around the country and Canada next year.

Progress In The Fight Against Breast Cancer. The First Lady will release a report from the Federal Coordinating Committee on Breast Cancer that underscores the critical progress that has been made since the Administration took office:

  • A significant investment in research that has led to historic advances in breast cancer research, including the identification of new breast cancer genes, and promising new treatments;
  • Improved quality and availability of prevention tools, including mammograms;
  • Enhanced access to treatment and quality of care for women with breast cancer by increasing access to cancer trial clinics, and new projects to improve detection and care among low-income and minority women;
  • Innovative interagency and public-private partnerships to apply the latest in defense and space technology to better detect cancerous tissues and develop less intrusive surgery methods for patients.

Encouraging Older Women To Get Mammograms. The First Lady will unveil an expanded outreach and education campaign to encourage women ages 65 and over to get regularly scheduled mammograms. This year's campaign will emphasize the new mammography Medicare benefit that the President fought for and signed into law that covers annual mammograms and makes them more affordable.

Family Planning -- We Must Put Progress Ahead Of Partisanship. Although the President fought for and won victories in the budget negotiations, Congress has persisted on the path of partisanship. A Congressional bill to reauthorize the State Department contains unacceptable restrictions on international family planning -- even though women in countries with strong family planning have fewer abortions. Congress has even attempted to tie meeting our United Nations obligations to this unrelated and controversial provision. Today, the President vetoed this bill for a second time.

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