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Bilbray Co-Authors The Melanoma Research Act

A San Diego County lawmaker whose daughter is battling melanoma is the co-author of a bill to provide a public source of funding for skin cancer research.

Rep. Brian Bilbray, D-Solana Beach, co-authored the Melanoma Research Act of 2012 with Rep. Carolyn Maloney, R-N.Y. His 25-year-old daughter, Briana, recently underwent surgery in her battle against melanoma.

The congressman said people have a one-in-50 chance of developing melanoma in their lifetime, and the rate is higher for those under 30.

"While this disease does not discriminate, in the last 40 years the incidence rate has been on the rise with young women," Bilbray said. "We need a committed source of funding to allow the National Institutes of Health to adequately research this growing public health epidemic."

Citing statistics from the Melanoma Research Foundation, Bilbray said melanoma is the fastest growing cancer in the United States with a diagnosis given every eight minutes, which in turn, leads to a death every hour.

If the bill is passed, funds would come from existing fees charged to users of indoor tanning booths, which raised $54.4 million last year, according to Bilbray. The funding generated by the bill would also pay for research for other forms of skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, Kaposi's sarcoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Briana Bilbray's battle with skin cancer revealed a father-daughter split over whether to relax a federal ban on medical marijuana. He opposes any change, but his daughter says medical pot is the only thing that relieves nausea from chemotherapy.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | May 15, 2012 at 10:47 a.m. ― 4 years, 10 months ago

So, I think the legislation is good, but in addition to research we alo need education about proper skin care. Kids need to be taught to use sunscreen and young women especially need to be aware of the dangers of a bronzed body. Also, teach awareness about moles and early warning signs.

**Now, on to the hypocrisy meter**

Mr. Bilbray is against health care reform that would allow regular medical access to the poor. Skin exams looking for irregular lesions are *precisely* the type of regular care **ALL** Americans would be entitled to so everyone can have the tools and means to catch this terrible cancer early.

Next, as far as I know, Bilbray is **against** Prop 29 ( perhaps KPBS can confirm).

How does Mr. Bilbray support something that taxes tanning beds to fund melanoma research, but doesn't support raising tobacco taxes to fund cancer research?

You should be in favor of public health in general, not just cherry picking things because you have family members afflicted.

Could KPBS please get feedback from Mr. Bilbray on Prop 29 as the premise - taxing a high risk health hazard and using the money for research of diseases related to that risk - seems to be the same as the premise for his skin cancer proposal.

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