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DeLauro Introduces Johanna’s Law, Legislation to Raise Awareness About Gynecologic Cancers

July 14, 2021
Press Release

DeLauro is a 35-Year Ovarian Cancer Survivor

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), a 35-year ovarian cancer survivor, reintroduced the Johanna’s Law Reauthorization Act, which would reauthorize a national education campaign, led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to increase the awareness about the symptoms, risk factors, and prevention of gynecologic cancers such as ovarian, uterine, and cervical cancers.

“This year, more than 21,000 women will receive an ovarian cancer diagnosis, and sadly, an estimated 14,000 will die from this disease. Awareness is a critical tool in fighting gynecologic cancers, a fact I know firsthand,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Thirty-five years ago, I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I was one of the lucky ones and had excellent doctors who detected the cancer by chance in Stage 1. I underwent radiation treatment for two-and-a-half months, and I am fortunate to say that I have been cancer-free ever since. But I know that, had my doctors not caught my cancer at its earliest stage, the outcome might have been very, very different. No one should have to depend on luck, and this bill will help educate women and health care providers, and ultimately, save lives.”

Johanna’s Law, which was first passed in 2006, was named for Johanna Silver Gordon, a public school teacher, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, who was diagnosed with late stage ovarian cancer. Despite multiple surgeries and aggressive treatment, Johanna died nearly four years after her diagnosis. This bill was proposed by her sister, Sheryl Silver, to help raise awareness about the disease and educate women and their health care providers about its symptoms, clinical signs, and risk factors.

A variety of gynecologic cancer education and awareness programs and activities at the CDC are funded through Johanna's Law. These include professional education and training opportunities for medical providers, research studying various topics like disparities in patient outcomes and provider adherence to guidelines, and the Inside Knowledge About Gynecologic Cancer public awareness campaign. Since it was first enacted in 2006, Johanna’s Law has shone a light on ovarian cancer and educated millions of women across the country, saving lives in the process.