October 11, 2007
Sadly, most of us know someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Breast cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer as well as the second leading cause of death among women in America.
Early detection is crucial to successful treatment. That is why, as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I would like to provide the community with the resources to obtain a mammogram with little or no out of pocket expense. Access to support services is also available for those who have been diagnosed, or have had a loved one diagnosed with breast cancer.
Estimates by the American Cancer Society suggest that this year alone 178,480 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed, over 20% of which will prove deadly. Frightening statistics show that invasive breast cancer will develop in one out of every eight women, claiming the lives of one in every thirty-five.
Fortunately, breast cancer rates are on a downward trend which can most likely be attributed to an increased awareness of the importance of early detection and treatment. Mammography can detect breast cancer one to three years before a lump can be felt and can locate lumps that are too small to be felt during a routine examination. Catching the disease in its early stages has saved millions of lives and eased the pain and suffering of those diagnosed with the disease.
Women in their 20s and 30s should have a routine examination done by a health professional at least every three years. For women over 40, this exam should be performed every year in addition to annual mammograms. These preventative measures, recommended by the American Cancer Society can be expensive. Fortunately, there are resources available in our community that aim to help women combat the threat that breast cancer poses.
My hope is that every woman will take advantage of the options available to them and encourage their mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces and friends to do the same. Life is far too valuable to let breast cancer claim yours or that of a loved one.
Martin J. Golden