August 23, 2006

Bishop & Browning Seek Bucks for Breasts

Supporters might say he's the breast man for the job.

On Monday, Congressman Tim Bishop co-hosted a press conference to promote amending the existing Public Health Service Act. Bishop, an advocate of cancer research, hopes to give the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences the ability to allot grants to public and not-for-profit entities so that research investigating possible links between environmental factors and instances of breast cancer can continue on a larger scale.

"It is a very important issue for Long Island, not to mention the nation," Bishop said. According to the congressman, the bill has 246 co-sponsors, which he explained, "is more than enough to pass it."

Bishop was spurred into action, in part, by a New York State Department of Health study commissioned to investigate cancer clusters in seven communities on Long Island's North Shore several years ago. Its final inconclusive results dismayed breast cancer activists across the island.

"That study cries out for further inquiry," Bishop remarked. "I've decided to push as hard as I can." If the new legislation is passed, $30 million a year for the next five years will be reserved for breast cancer research grants.

Legislator Kate Browning (D., Shirley) co-hosted Monday's press conference at Smith Point Park, the venue for the annual Long Island 2 Day Breast Cancer Walk. She noted that in just three years the walk has already raised over $1 million in the fight against the deadly disease. Yesterday, the legislature was expected to vote on her bill in support of Bishop's measure.

In other news of breast health, lawmakers were due to vote to appropriate funds for renovations to the county center in Riverhead, which includes the installation of a digital mammography unit. North Fork Legislator Ed Romaine has pushed for the appropriation since he took office in January.

Additional reporting by Kitty Merrill

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