By Bill Monning, California State Senator

The California State Senate has recognized May as Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month with the passage of Senate Resolution 34, which I was proud to have authored. This designation will help bring attention to this life debilitating disease.  

Cystic fibrosis is the most common fatal genetic disease in the United States, with 30,000 people currently afflicted and 1,000 new cases diagnosed every year.  One out of every 3,500 babies born in America has cystic fibrosis, and more than 75 percent of people with the disease are diagnosed before the age of 2.  

Prompt diagnosis of the disease can lead to better treatment of the symptoms and control over the disease, which is defined by a thick buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, causing persistent infections, lung damage and respiratory failure. And while there is no known cure for this chronic and progressive systemic disease, there have been advancements in research that have produced promising leads in gene, protein and drug therapies that have led to longer life expectancy and better life quality.

In the 1950s, cystic fibrosis was almost exclusively found only in children, few of which lived long enough to even attend elementary school. Through early diagnosis, advancements in medicine, and a better understanding of the disease, now over half of those with cystic fibrosis are 18 years of age or older and have a life expectancy into their early 40s.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 12 million Americans are symptomless carriers of the cystic fibrosis gene, and if both you and your partner have the gene, it greatly increases your child’s chance of having the disease.  

I applaud the work of the researchers and advocates who work for a cure every day and create innovative ways of treating the disease. Through their efforts, those afflicted with cystic fibrosis can pursue their life goals, whether it is a particular career path, marriage, children, or all of the above. Please take a moment to learn more about cystic fibrosis.


Senator Bill Monning was elected in 2012 to represent the 17th Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara counties. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of the Pajaronian.

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