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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 7, 1995




Almost all of us have been touched by the devastating effects of cancer. In its many forms, cancer has been one of the most persistent and deadly health problems of this century. With the coming of spring -- a time of rebirth -- it is especially appropriate for us to renew our commitment to fighting cancer, to take pride in the progress we have made in combatting this disease, and to recognize the work still to be done.

In the 24 years since the signing of the National Cancer Act, we have made significant strides against cancer. Through diligent research, we have identified major risk factors for the disease -- including diet, lack of exercise, and smoking -- and we have worked to educate Americans to minimize these risks in their lives. New approaches to treatment have been developed in recent years, and new medicines are continually being refined and tested.

Among women in the United States who develop cancer, lung cancer claims the most lives, followed closely by breast cancer. An estimated 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives -- up from 1 in 20 just two decades ago. In this decade, an estimated 2 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer or cervical cancer, with more than 500,000 of these women dying as a result. Cancers of the uterus, ovaries, and colon are also on the rise among women in this country.

We are making progress, however. For example, from 1989 to 1992, the numbers of women dying from breast cancer actually declined -- the largest short-term decrease since 1950. With the advances in treatment upon early detection, screening mammography has never been more important. My Administration is launching a nationwide campaign to increase awareness of Medicare coverage for screening mammography. Additionally, most States now have laws requiring private insurers to offer coverage for biannual screening mammography, and third-party reimbursement is increasing. Together, these measures are helping more women to benefit from this potentially life-saving procedure.

Remarkable progress has also been made against childhood cancers as a result of the unflagging persistence of researchers in laboratories and hospitals across the country. Although the number of children affected by cancer is increasing, the number of deaths from childhood cancer continues to drop dramatically. Improved diagnostic and prognostic techniques and important advances in treatment have given renewed hope to children with leukemia, Wilms' tumor, neuroblastoma, and brain tumors. We are seeing a steady increase in the number of adult survivors of these childhood cancers.

Every one of us has a part to play in the fight against this disease and much work remains to eradicate it. Continuing research is essential to reducing the incidence of cancer for all our citizens.

In 1938, the Congress of the United States passed a joint resolution requesting the President to issue an annual proclamation declaring April as "Cancer Control Month."

NOW, THEREFORE, I, WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of April 1995 as Cancer Control Month. I invite the Governors of the 50 States and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Mayor of the District of Columbia, and the appropriate officials of all other areas under the American flag to issue similar proclamations. I also ask health care professionals, private industry, community groups, insurance companies, and all other interested organizations and individual citizens to unite in support of our Nation's determined efforts to control cancer.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this seventh day of April, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-five, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and nineteenth.


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