Millions of women owe a great deal to a woman they've never met. In 1980, Susan G. Komen died from breast cancer at the young age of 36, just three years after being diagnosed. Her sister Nancy promised Susan that she would do whatever it took to eliminate breast cancer. In 1982 Nancy formed the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, known today as the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to help bring awareness to women dealing with breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, estimated new cases of breast cancer in 2011 will top 230,000 and they predict 39,520 women will lose their battle with breast cancer. The good news is that number has been decreasing since 1990.
Awareness and early detection are the keys to the successful treatment of breast cancer. Once a woman begins to show symptoms of breast cancer, it's likely that the cancer has spread beyond the breast. Early detection can literally mean the difference between life and death. We encourage woman to perform monthly breast self-exams starting in their 20s, a clinical exam every three years when they are in their 20s and 30s, and a yearly mammongram once they reach the age of 40.
Everyone's life is busy, but to not have a yearly exam could be life-threatening. A mammogram can usually be performed in about 15 minutes, with results available in a few days. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women next to skin cancer, accounting for 1 in 4 cancers diagnosed.
The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we are hosting many events to help bring awareness to a disease that affects 1 in 8 women. One such event is the Light the Path event at IU Health North. For a $5 donation, people can dedicate a pink solar light:
- In memory of a person who lost their fight against breast cancer
- To honor a friend or loved one whose life has been touched due to breast cancer
- To express gratitude to a family member, friend or caregiver who helped during your own battle with breast cancer
In the Friends for Life study, women give DNA samples to help researchers identify genes that are involved in the cause of breast cancer and to find new treatments for breast cancer.
There are many events in October that raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research, we encourage you to get out and get your pink on.
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