Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
December 7, 2005
Senator Debbe Leftwich
Joint Meeting of Women’s Caucus and Cancer Caucus to Hear
Latest on Cancer Vaccine
Members of the legislature, the public and medical
professionals will participate in the first-ever joint meeting of
the Oklahoma Women’s Legislative Caucus and the Oklahoma Cancer
Caucus. State Sen. Debbe
Leftwich, who serves as co-chair of each group, said the agenda
for the Thursday afternoon meeting would include information on
a new vaccine for cervical cancer.
Leftwich was Senate author of legislation approved in 2004 which
provided funding for uninsured and underinsured women needing treatment
for breast and cervical cancer. The program officially went into
effect last January, and as of the end of November, 3,895 Oklahomans
had received treatment.
“By helping those women get treatment, we saved lives. But
the truth is we can save even more lives through awareness and prevention,”
said Leftwich, D-Oklahoma City. “Naturally when I saw the
reports that a vaccine had been developed that could actually prevent
cervical cancer in the first place, I wanted both the Cancer and
Women’s Caucuses to hear the latest information.”
Earlier this fall, Merck pharmaceutical company presented the findings
of a study on the vaccine to the Infectious Diseases Society of
America. According to published reports, the study found the vaccine
to be 100 percent effective in the short term at blocking two types
of human papilloma virus which are responsible for about 70 percent
of cervical cancers.
The joint caucuses will hear presentations from Liana Clark, M.D.,
Medical Director, Merck Vaccine Division, as well as Sarah F. Wells,
senior director of public policy for Women In Government, which
is a bi-partisan, non-profit organization representing elected women
state officials. Clark will present information on the vaccine while
Wells will discuss Women in Government’s nationwide campaign
to eliminate cervical cancer.
“With the development of preventive vaccines and more sophisticated
diagnostic screening, such as FDA-approved HPV testing, we are on
the threshold of an incredible era in which cervical cancer could
be eliminated through better and more accessible preventive health
care,” said Wells. “Women In Government applauds Oklahoma’s
great strides in fighting this preventable disease.”
Wells noted that, since Women In Government launched its Challenge
to Eliminate Cervical Cancer Campaign in January 2004, 42 states
have introduced legislation or resolutions targeting cervical cancer
elimination and 34 states have enacted such measures.
Both presentations will be made when the joint caucuses convene
at 2 p.m. on Thursday, December 8, in room 419-C of the State Capitol
and then again for a meeting of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention
and Treatment Advisory Committee, also chaired by Sen. Leftwich.
That meeting will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, December 9 and will
also meet in 419-C. Both meetings will be live on the internet.
To access streaming audio and video, go to www.oksenate.gov and
then follow the Senate Audio/Video link at the bottom of the homepage.
For more information contact:
Senator Leftwich's Office- (405) 521-5557