My staff member’s personal story, coupled with reports that at least 50 former U.S. Marines or sons of Marines who lived at Camp Lejuene have been diagnosed with breast cancer, inspired me to introduce H.R. 3926 that would compel the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs to conduct a thorough study on the incidence of this disease in our men and women in uniform.
To date, there have been no conclusive studies on the incidence of breast cancer in servicemembers and veterans. A recent study by the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health on the incidence rates of certain types of cancer in the military population did indicate that women who served in our armed forces had a greater prevalence of breast cancer than civilian women, but noted that further research was necessary. The Armed Forces Breast Cancer Research Act will mandate that this research be conducted and that our military men and women affected by breast cancer will not be made to wait for answers.
The Secretary of Defense and Secretary of Veterans Affairs will be required to report their findings to Congress within 18 months of this legislation being enacted. If the joint study indicates that service members are being diagnosed with breast cancer as a result of their military service, I pledge to work with the VA to classify breast cancer as a service-connected disability in order for these men and women to receive the necessary VA benefits to treat and cope with the disease.