Senator Tom Harkin, cycling champion Lance Armstrong and two-hundred cancer survivors from all over the country joined at a rally in the nation’s capitol Wednesday. "Lance, thank you, and thank the Armstrong Army which is growing stronger and stronger every day," Harkin said. "I’m telling you, this is an army that is going to wage a winning final struggle, battle, war on cancer in this country and this army is going to win that war."
Rally-goes were lobbying for legislation which boosts federal funding so more low-income Americans can qualify for government-paid mammograms and other cancer detection tests. In addition, the group wants more federal funding for research into new kinds of tests that would help detect cancer even earlier. Twelve cancer survivors from Iowa were at the rally.
Colleen Chapleau of Iowa City is a cancer survivor who works with cancer patients at University of Iowa Hospitals. Sarah Russell of Des Moines was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent treatment and three years ago, doctors told her she was cancer free. Over half a million Americans will die of cancer this year and some experts say as many as half of those deaths could have been avoided if a test had detected the cancer earlier.