By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Wednesday, the Ways and Means General Fund Committee of the Alabama House of Representatives met as part of the annual general fund budget.
Advocates for the fight against breast cancer spoke to the Ways and Means committee asking them to continue to fund the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer program.
Representative Greg Wren (R) from Montgomery was presiding because Chairman Steve Clouse (R) from Ozark could not attend due to illness. Rep. Wren welcomed the group of women.
Lori Hood told the Committee that she found a lump during a routine self-examination. Doctors confirmed her worst fears and she underwent six months of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and reconstruction. At the time Hood was a single working mom. Hood said, “I am around because of the wonderful people that run this program.”
“It is up to you to give them (women who contract cancer) the choice of life by funding this program.” Hood said that when she was diagnosed she had no insurance, her son was just 12, and her daughter was just 16 years old. Since then she has lived to see her daughter graduate from high school and her son get to his junior year of High school. Hood said, “You can save more and more women,” by continuing to fund the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Program.
Rep. Laura Hall (D) said that her own family has been touched by cancer and she commended the women of the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Program for their work.
Rep. Wren told the group that he has spoken with Chairman Clause on this subject and that Clause said that he is committed to doing all that we can for this program.
Rep. Wren commended Dr. Williamson at the Department of Public Health for his ability to leverage a dollar. Wren said that Williams was good at getting matching dollars from the federal government and other sources to generate more funds for this and other public health programs.
According to their website, the Alabama Breast and Cervical Cancer Program has screened 91,109 women since 1996. Since the program’s beginning 143,080 women have received clinical breast exams and 78,487 pap smears have been performed. 1,757 cases of breast cancer have been detected and 445 cases of cervical cancer have been detected.
In the last grant year alone, 12,329 women were screened, 10,255 clinical breast exams were performed, 9,944 mammograms were conducted, 4,437 pap smears were given, 137 cases of breast cancer were detected, and 16 cases of cervical cancer were detected.