What can you do to help fight against breast cancer?
You may or may not be aware of it, but October is the national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Most of us know someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be 226,870 new cases of invasive cancer and 39,510 from breast cancer in 2012 alone.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among women; only lung cancer claims more lives each year.
Being diagnosed with any type of cancer is a terrifying thing, and it can throw your life into an emotional and physical turmoil.
But fortunately, there is help.
The American Cancer Society is a national organization that provides information and resources to cancer patients to help them as they cope with their diagnosis, make difficult treatment decisions and live through those treatments, and then — God willing — adapt to life after remission.
Every year, the Society works with local communities to hosts a series of walking events called the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walks” to honor breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about what we can do to stay well and raise money to help fight the disease with breast cancer research, provide information and services and provide access to mammograms for women who need them.
Anyone can participate in one of these walks, from corporate CEOs to schoolchildren.
The walks typically range from three to five miles long, and participants ask their friends and businesses to sponsor them by contributing to the American Cancer Society.
This month, there will be three walks taking place in Alabama. On Oct. 6, a walk will be held in Tuscaloosa at Government Plaza.
On Oct. 13, a walk will be held in Montgomery at Huntington College.
And on Oct. 27, a walk will be held in Mobile at the Mobile Civic Center.
If you are interested in participating or learning more about the walks, you can call 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org/stridesonline.
The money you help raise will be used to help the Society provide several important programs and services — available 24/7 — to breast cancer patients.
These include: offering free information about treatment options; the Reach to Recovery program that helps newly diagnosed patients cope with their experience with breast cancer; the Look Good Feel Better program that helps patients manage the physical side effects of their treatments; and residences like the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham that provides free lodging to cancer patients and their caregivers who have to travel far from home to receive their treatments.
The Society also uses the money it raises to help women learn what they can do to prevent breast cancer or to catch it earlier, such as eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake and getting regular screenings from a physician.
The five-year survival rate is 99 percent for breast cancer that is diagnosed in the earliest stages.
Alabama Democrats care about women’s health, and we want you to know there is something you can do to help.
By supporting or participating in a Making Strides walk, you can help save lives — perhaps even your own or the life of a woman you love.
Even if you do not live near one of the cities where a walk will be taking place, you can still make a financial contribution and help raise awareness about breast cancer.
So, please, get involved and support the American Cancer Society and the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Awareness Walks.
Johnny Mack Morrow is a state representative for Franklin County. His column appears each week.