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First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited cancer center, military families in San Antonio

She arrived Wednesday afternoon to attend listening sessions and take a tour as part of the Cancer Moonshot initiative and Joining Families initiative.

SAN ANTONIO — First Lady Dr. Jill Biden has arrived in San Antonio. Her plans for Wednesday are to spend time in Military City USA meeting with residents to learn about the Latino community's challenges when it comes to cancer and to gain a better understanding of what military families face who have children with disabilities.

She arrived around 12 p.m. at Joint Base San Antonio-Kelly Field. Next, she visited Mays Cancer Center around 1 p.m., which is home to the UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Biden will take a tour and participate in a listening session focused on addressing cancer health disparities in the Latino community.

It's part of the Biden-Harris administration's Cancer Moonshot initiative, White House officials said. It aims to cut the cancer death rate in half over the next 25 years and improve the experiences of people living with cancer. 

Dr. Biden toured the Mays Cancer Center where she heard from patients, doctors and researchers about addressing cancer, especially among Latinos.

"Cancer, I bet touches every single one of us, but it doesn't affect every community in the same way. That's why as part of the Cancer Moonshot, I'm glad to learn today what we're doing for the Latino community," Dr. Biden said.

Patients and caregivers talked about the hardships experienced, while doctors at the Mays Cancer Center explained their efforts to prevent cancer, enhancing screenings, developing new therapies and learning the impacts of survivorship.

The Mays Cancer Center says it will be conducting a study of 3,000 Latino cancer survivors to determine the physical and emotional long-term impacts of treatment in order to improve existing treatment for patients.

Dr. Ruben Mesa, executive director of the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio says the First Lady's visit encourages them to continue the work they're doing.

“Having her here really energizes everyone, the efforts we’re doing whether we’re trying to prevent cancer, studying it in the lab, enhancing cancer screenings post-COVID, developing new therapies or impacting on survivorships, boy it was thrilling to having her here,” Dr. Mesa said.

One of the points of emphasis from Dr. Biden is detecting cancer early, and bringing education to underserved areas of the community.

“A big part of this is education, we have to get the word out that people have to get screened, and early detection and where their cancer centers are, and who their patient advocates are. But it also all has to be evidence-based," Dr. Biden said.

Her staff said their goal to reduce the cancer mortality rate is possible with the work being done in San Antonio and around the country.

"Our administration is going to keep working every single day because we know it affects all Americans,” Dr. Biden said.

Around 3 p.m., the First Lady visited Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland to tour a Child Development Center and participate in a listening session in support of military children with disabilities, as part of the White House's Joining Forces initiative.

According to the White House, more than 2 million children in US classrooms have parents who are active-duty military members. 

"I know that maybe you're tired of always having to be resilient. If we can take some of your obstacles out of your way, making sure critical education support services are available to all children, military families will be able to do even more with their talent, dedication, leadership and skills," Dr. Biden said during her JBSA visit.

"Supporting your physical, social, and emotional health is a national security imperative," Dr. Biden said to the crowd of active service members and military caregivers.

The discussion includes military parents along with staff members from JBSA's Child Development Center, which serves over 240 children from approximately 194 military families.

The listening session focused on supporting military children with disabilities.

Dr. Jill Biden paid a similar visit on Friday to Tampa's Moffitt Cancer Center to meet with health experts about the White House's latest initiative to fight the disease.

"It has stolen our joy. It left us broken in our grief but through that pain, we found purpose," the first lady said earlier this month when President Joe Biden announced the initiative.

The president's son, Beau, died of brain cancer in 2015 at age 46. President Biden launched the program one year later, when he was serving as vice president.

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