The U.S. Congress has grappled, on an unprecedented level lately, with the question of how best to fight cancer. Lawmakers have debated how the federal government should fund medical research, and Vice President Joe Biden has been in their ears promoting his “moonshot” to end the disease. Now, one of their own announced Monday that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer: Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.
In a short afternoon post on the social network Tumblr, McCaskill wrote that she will be in St. Louis for the next three weeks getting treatment. “It was detected through a regular mammogram,” the two-term senator wrote. “It’s a little scary, but my prognosis is good and I expect a full recovery.”
McCaskill herself has supported breast-cancer-related legislation. She was one of more than 20 senators to cosponsor the Breast Density and Mammography Reporting Act of 2015, which would “require breast density reporting to physicians and patients by facilities that perform mammograms.” Breast density can “mask” cancer during screenings, and if patients have access to density reports, they can follow up with their doctors and figure out if they need more tests.
That legislation wasn’t the only occasion lawmakers took to unite around combating cancer in 2015. Last year saw a renewed, bipartisan push to fund medical research. Congressional appropriators allocated the biggest funding bump for the National Institutes of Health in more than a decade in the 2016 omnibus spending package, and in the House, members overwhelmingly supported the 21st Century Cures Act, which would increase funding for and remove barriers to research, on a bipartisan basis.