Multiple myeloma is the most common hematological malignancy. It forms in plasma cells, white blood cells found mainly in the bone marrow that protect the body from infection by producing antibodies. When these cells become malignant, abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, producing abnormal antibodies and crowding out normal blood-forming cells. Some of these abnormal cells, known as circulating multiple myeloma cells (CMMC), escape from the primary tumor space and travel through the bloodstream.
Current approaches for diagnosing patients with multiple myeloma require bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. These are invasive procedures that use a hollow needle inserted into the hipbone or breastbone to remove bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone. While generally safe, bone marrow exams can result in excessive bleeding, infection, and long-lasting discomfort.
The EARLY Act is making progress toward passage in the Congress. To learn more about the bill and register your support with your senators, visit http://earlyactawareness.org. Thanks to recent changes, the bill is now supported by the American Cancer Society.
Dowling & Dennis has been working with the nonprofit Tigerlily Foundation and NeoMatrix, makers of the HALO Breast Pap Test, to get this legislation passed. Among other activities we have:
* Assisted the Tigerlily Foundation with a major Capitol Hill event; and
* Worked with breast surgeon Ernie Bodai, MD, to place his op-ed piece in the Sacramento Bee.
* Done outreach to all the major breast cancer advocacy and clinical organizations;
* Helped create the EARLY Act Website;
This valuable legislation would provide federal funding for educating young women and healthcare professionals about breast cancer in women 45 and younger. That age group accounts for more than 5% of the total breast cancer cases in the US every single year. The bill provides for $45 million in funding over five years.
Along with Tigerlily, NeoMatrix is committed to educating young women about what they can do to avoid breast cancer, and how they can assess their individual risk of getting the disease – thereby taking steps to potentially protect themselves against ever getting breast cancer.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, herself a breast cancer survivor, is the original author of the bill. It’s being carried in the Senate by Amy Klobuchar. The EARLY Act has more than 360 cosponsors in the House and more than 30 in the Senate.