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Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) and a bipartisan coalition of 24 additional Senators today introduced legislation to extend the sale of the highly successful Breast Cancer Research Stamp for two additional years beyond the current expiration date of December 31, 2007.  

Since the stamp first went on sale in 1998, the U.S. Postal Service has sold more than 747 million stamps, raising $53.76 million for breast cancer research.

“The breast cancer research stamp has been extraordinarily successful.  Not only has the sale of the stamp raised more than $53 million for breast cancer research, but the stamp itself has focused public awareness on the devastating disease and provided hope to breast cancer survivors,” Senator Feinstein said. “Thanks to breakthroughs in cancer research, more and more people are becoming cancer survivors rather than cancer victims.  Every dollar we continue to raise will help save lives.”

“Tens of millions of dollars have been raised for breast cancer research through the sale of this stamp, and it is critical to keep this financial support for research flowing,” Senator Hutchison said.  “This disease affects not only those who suffer from it, but also their friends and loved ones. Research, technology and early diagnosis are the three keys to prevention and hopefully a cure. Extending the sale of this stamp will keep us on the path to finding a cure.”

In addition to Senators Feinstein and Hutchison, the legislation is co-sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Ark.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), George Voinovich (R-Ohio), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), John Warner (R-Va.), Ken Salazar (D-Colo.), Joseph Biden (D-Del.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and John Sununu (R-N.H.).

The renewal legislation would provide for the stamp to continue to have a surcharge of up to 25 percent above the value of a first-class stamp, with the surplus revenues going to breast cancer research.

The Breast Cancer Research Stamp was the first stamp of its kind dedicated to raising funds for a special cause.  The stamp currently costs 45 cents and is deemed valid as a 39-cent stamp. The additional 6 cents charged for each stamp is directed to research programs at the National Institute for Health, which receives 70 percent of the proceeds, and the Department of Defense breast cancer research programs, which receives the remaining 30 percent of the proceeds.  

So far, the National Institutes for Health have received $36.7 million and the Department of Defense has received $15.7 million to fund innovative research of breast cancer.  

California continues to be one of the leading contributors purchasing over 47 million stamps with $3.6 million going to research – almost 15 percent of the nationwide contribution.

About 3 million women in the United States are living with breast cancer, one million of whom have yet to be diagnosed. One out of every 8 women will get breast cancer at some point in her lifetime, just as one out of every 6 men will have prostate cancer. The disease claims another woman's life every 13 minutes in the United States. Breast cancer is considered the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in every major ethnic group in the United States, other than skin cancer.  Though much less common, the American Cancer Society estimates that about 2,030 American men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.   

Originally created in 1997, Congress has reauthorized the stamp three times. The original cosponsors for the bill were Senators Feinstein, Alfonse D’Amato (R-NY), and Lauch Faircloth (R-NC) in the Senate, and Representatives Vic Fazio (D-CA) and Susan Molinari (R-NY) in the House.