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October provides opportunity to promote breast cancer awareness

For many, October is nearly synonymous with breast cancer awareness.

October was first dedicated for breast cancer awareness in 1985, and today the annual month-long awareness campaign continues as a call to be tuned into one’s breast health, to strengthen support for those battling the disease and to share information far and wide about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the cancer that has impacted so many. 

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The World Health Organization notes there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer each year. The American Cancer Society reports more than 40,000 of those deaths will be in the U.S. In addition, more than 2,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer, and 500 die from the disease, each year.

Basically, no matter whose stats you want to refer to, it’s not good news. 

We want to stand behind those for whom October stirs feelings about survivorship and support – and that’s nearly everyone. You will be hard pressed to find someone who has not been directly or directly impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis. 

Although the “commercialization” of breast cancer and the awareness month have caused some to scoff at the abundance of pink and the doom-and-gloom messaging, the fact is, breast cancer is a real problem hurting real people – our family and friends, our neighbors and our community. 

If you’re at risk for breast cancer – and one of the No. 1 risk factors is “being female” – we join the voices urging proactive self exams and mammograms. Early detection is key to successful treatment of breast cancer. 

If you think you can’t afford a mammogram or other scan, Russellville Hospital might be able to help. The Russellville Fire Department’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirt sale helps support a fund at the hospital that benefits women who might need, but find it challenging to pay for, such scans.

Bottom line, October is as good a time as any to tune into the facts about breast cancer and either take steps yourself, or encourage others to take steps, to keep this cancer at bay.