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Proclamation 7228—National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 1999

September 30, 1999

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Across America today, women are living challenging, fulfilling lives, skillfully balancing the responsibilities of work, family, and community, and making plans for a bright future. But for thousands of these women each year, the diagnosis of breast cancer shatters the pattern of everyday existence. For millions more, the fear of such a diagnosis casts a shadow across their lives. This year alone, an estimated 175,000 new cases will be diagnosed, and more than 43,000 women will die from breast cancer.

Despite these tragic statistics, we are beginning to see real progress in our national crusade against this disease. The breast cancer mortality rate in the United States has steadily declined over the past 10 years, and currently 2 million American women are winning the battle against this cancer.

Our steadfast commitment to breast cancer research is finally bearing fruit and has led the way to new preventative treatments. Last year, the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) landmark Breast Cancer Prevention Trial revealed that there were 49 percent fewer reported diagnoses among women who took tamoxifen. In another promising effort, researchers are looking at an alternate drug to see if we can achieve the same results but with fewer side effects.

Researchers are also conducting studies to determine if other medications can provide an effective weapon in our war against breast cancer. The Food and Drug Administration has recently approved the use of a new drug that has proved to be effective in the treatment of patients already in the advanced stages of this disease. Studies indicate that the drug may benefit 25 to 30 percent of women with advanced breast cancer. Encouraged by these findings, the NCI has rapidly expanded its study to include earlier stages of breast cancer and the treatment of other cancers, such as ovarian cancer.

We have also made promising strides in promoting the early detection of breast cancer, which is critical to prolonging patients' lives. A recent survey conducted by the NCI and the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) showed that 88 percent of women 65 years of age and older had undergone at least one mammogram during their lifetime—a 25 percent increase from 1992. Of the women who had a mammogram, 80 percent received their most recent test within the past 2 years, and more than 75 percent knew of Medicare's mammography coverage. The NCI and HCFA hope to build on this progress through their joint campaign to raise women's awareness of the importance of regularly scheduled mammograms and the availability of Medicare mammography benefits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also played a vital role in combating breast cancer by providing access to screenings for medically underserved women. Authorized by the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act of 1990, the CDC's early detection program provides breast and cervical cancer screening services for women who might otherwise not receive them, such as older women, women with lower incomes, and women of color. This program has provided nearly 1 million mammograms, resulting in the diagnosis of more than 5,800 breast cancer cases.

Having lost my own mother to this devastating disease, I know all too well the pain and hardship that breast cancer inflicts on women and their families. I urge all Americans to join me in the crusade to prevent, treat, and ultimately eradicate breast cancer. By building on the breakthroughs we have achieved in research, prevention, and treatment and by promoting continued education and awareness, we can ensure that millions of women can look forward to longer lives and a brighter future.

Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 1999 as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I call upon government officials, businesses, communities, health care professionals, educators, volunteers, and all the people of the United States to publicly reaffirm our Nation's strong and continuing commitment to controlling and curing breast cancer.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and twenty-fourth.

Signature of William J. Clinton


William J. Clinton, Proclamation 7228—National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 1999 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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