Let’s celebrate National Breast Cancer Awareness month, brought to our attention by organizations, agencies and medical associations. The idea behind this month—not just a day of observance—is that we must never give up the fight against breast cancer.
It’s the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancers. About 1 in 8 (12 percent) women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime.
The American Cancer Society’s estimates for breast cancer in the United States for 2013 are:
- About 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
- About 64,640 new cases of carcinoma in situ (CIS) will be diagnosed (CIS is non-invasive and is the earliest form of breast cancer).
- About 39,620 women will die from breast cancer.
This month, we’re seeing novel ways to call attention to national breast cancer awareness. Hey, whatever works, because this is so important! In 16 cities, AAA tow trucks are wearing pink. Amanda Schulte of Thomasville, N.C. makes figurines, and this month, the gnomes are pink. In Indianapolis, the Colts and the city dyed the canal pink—check out the fountain here. Even the Green Bay Packers are scoring on this one. “At Lambeau Field, the regular lighting above the Bellin Health Gate has been replaced with pink lighting in an effort to further awareness in the community and to show support for the cause,” says the team’s website. TODAY Health wrote about women who take risks, take on challenges and basically throw caution to the wind after they’ve beaten breast cancer—and that’s easily understandable, if not risky.
What will you do?
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services has prepared a downloadable toolkit that makes it easy for all of us to make a difference this month, even if it’s reminding a friend to have a mammogram. Coincidentally, mine is due now—I do one every year—and I’ll be choosing to do breast tomosynthesis, a 3D mammogram providing greater visibility for women like me with dense breast tissue and for those with an increased risk for breast cancer.
If it’s time for your mammogram, make your appointment. And why not bring that friend? Susan G. Komen’s recommendations for breast cancer screening are absolutely on target. Make sure and read them here, won’t you?