3 lawmakers back U.S. cancer data bank Bill would also mandate breast cancer study.

February 07, 1992|By Carol Emert | Carol Emert,States News Service

WASHINGTON -- In response to an "epidemic" of cancer, particularly in the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern states, three Maryland lawmakers have backed legislation that would establish a national data bank to systematically track information about the disease.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., and Reps. Constance A. Morella, R-8th, and Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, are among co-sponsors of the Cancer Registries Amendments Act, which would establish cancer data banks in every state.

Currently, 10 states lack cancer registers and there is no national repository for the information. The National Cancer Institute has cited the lack of accessible, standardized data as a primary stumbling block in understanding and combating the disease.

The data bank, which would cost $30 million to set up, would track gender, age, race, the type of cancer, the stage at which it is detected, treatment, and lifestyle and environmental factors.

Maryland established a cancer register in 1982, but its data are limited to incidence of the disease, with no record of treatment or results.

Besides the register, the legislation would establish a four-year study in the Middle Atlantic and Northeastern states to learn why breast cancer rates are higher in those areas.

Without such a study, "women are at a loss to [take steps to] decrease their risk," said Amy Schiffman Langer of the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations.

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