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First lady Jill Biden to visit Tucson on Monday & Tuesday

First Lady Jill Biden will visit Tucson as part of a larger tour of Arizona and Nevada to push for the administration's Cancer Moonshot Initiative, one of the priorities outlined by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union speech last week.

Biden will arrive at the Tucson International Airport on Monday night around 6 p.m. The next morning, she'll head out to the San Xavier District on the Tohono O'odham Nation to meet with Xavier Becerra, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at the San Xavier Health Center.

Biden and Becerra will tour the health center and focus on the Tohono O’odham Nation’s cancer program and services, including those provided in partnership with the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

White House officials framed the trip as part of "Building a Better America" and said Biden's trip will "focus on uniting Americans around issues like ending cancer as we know it."

During his State of the Union speech on March 1, President Joe Biden said he would seek to "supercharge" a program to cut the nation's cancer death rate by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, turning "more cancers from death sentences into treatable diseases."

In February, the White House said it would "reignite" federal efforts to treat cancers, and set "ambitious goals."

"Because of recent progress in cancer therapeutics, diagnostics, and patient-driven care, as well as the scientific advances and public health lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s now possible to set ambitious goals: to reduce the death rate from cancer by at least 50 percent over the next 25 years, and improve the experience of people and their families living with and surviving cancer— and, by doing this and more, end cancer as we know it today."

"The President and First Lady Jill Biden are also announcing a call to action on cancer screening to jump-start progress on screenings that were missed as a result of the pandemic, and help ensure that everyone in the United States equitably benefits from the tools we have to prevent, detect, and diagnose cancer," the White House said.

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Jill Biden's own advocacy for cancer education and prevention began in 1993 when four of her friends were diagnosed with breast cancer, the White House said.

"Following that year, she launched the Biden Breast Health Initiative to educate Delaware high school girls about the importance of cancer prevention," the White House said in February. "As First Lady she continues her work emphasizing early detection efforts and the patient, family and caregiver experience with cancer.   She will also stress the importance of cancer screenings, especially those delayed or put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and will urge government partners, the business community, and non-profit sectors to help make screenings more accessible and available to all."

Following her tour at the San Xavier Health Center, Biden will tour the San Xavier del Bac Mission and attend a traditional dance performance by Tohono O’odham members, her office said.

Later that afternoon, Biden and Becerra will meet with Tucson Mayor Regina Romero to participate in a celebration of Women's History Month.

Biden's tour comes as the Biden administration strains to get parts of the president's Build Back Better agenda into place after negotiations over the bill's $2 trillion cost collapsed, keeping the bill from passing through the U.S. Senate last fall. Instead, parts of the bill, which includes aggressive climate change legislation and early education spending may be carved into their own bills.

Biden will later head to Kentucky to visit Fort Campbell, the home of the 101st Airborne Division. There Biden will meet with the families of soldiers deployed to Europe in support NATO allies.

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White House

First Lady Jill Biden with Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy at the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe on March 1, 2022.