October 5

The ‘C’ Word—Breast Cancer Awareness Month

By Meghann Giarraputo of Gardant Management Solutions

During the month of October, around the world, people pause to show their love and support for the millions of lives that have been affected by breast cancer. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), each year in the United States, approximately 255,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer and about 42,000 women pass away from this devastating disease. According to the American Cancer Society, with exception to skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer noted in American women. 

Over our lifetime, there are many factors that can influence our risk for breast cancer. The CDC shares that while we cannot change some factors (ex: age, genes/family history), we can lower our risk by taking care of our health through maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, and limiting alcohol intake. 

According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localized stage, the 5-year relative survival rate is 99%. Early detection can be possible through doing monthly breast self-exams and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms. 

While there is no substitute to personally discussing any questions or concerns that you may have with a healthcare provider, there are many resources available if you’re interested in learning more. One resource that is available is through the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Information Specialists at NCI Cancer Information Service (CIS) are available to help answer any cancer-related questions for you whether you are a patient, family member or friend, health care provider, or researcher. If interested, you can visit the website at https://www.cancer.gov/contact or call 800-4-CANCER. Some of the resources that are available through NCI’s CIS include information related to: clinical trials, cancer research, cancer treatment centers, cancer prevention and early detection, risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment, and living with cancer. 

For those who are or have been affected by the ‘c’ word and for those who have loved ones affected by this devastating disease, please know that I am holding you especially close in all of my thoughts this month and always. 

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