A pink haze is settling in as October gets underway. Long known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, it’s 30 days to really hammer home the message of cancer prevention.
Except for skin cancers, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. Twelve percent of U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. That’s 1 in 8 women.
Don’t just gloss over that statistic. Stop and think about. Make a list of eight women in your life: your mother, your sister, your aunt, your daughter, your best friend, the woman you share a cubicle with, your best shopping partner, you. One of those women is likely to develop breast cancer.
In 2013, the American Cancer Society estimates about 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women.
And that’s not counting the non-invasive. Throw in carcinoma in situ, known as CIS and is the earliest form of breast cancer, and you have another 64,640 new cases.
And the really sad news, about 39,620 women will die from breast cancer this year.
But, there is good news. After increasing for more than 2 decades, female breast cancer rates began dropping in 2000. From 2002 to 2003, rates dropped by about 7 percent.
That dip was due in part to a decline in the use of hormone therapy after menopause. This is where the research has paid off. A Women’s Health Initiative study, published in 2002, linked hormone therapy with an increased risk of breast cancer and heart diseases.
There’s more good news.
Death rates from breast cancer have been on the decline since 1989. The largest decrease was in women younger than 50, thanks to early detection from screening, improved treatment, and increased awareness.
Clearly, this is a disease that can be beaten. There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. And throughout the month of October, every Tuesday, we’ll share the story of a survivor who you call a neighbor.
We want you read their stories and know there’s hope for tomorrow. Hope that we truly are winning the battle against breast cancer.
THE ISSUE Breast Cancer Awareness Month begins today. OUR VIEW