An ounce of prevention

In 2017, approximately 252,710 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in U.S. women and 40,610 women in the U.S are expected to die from breast cancer. And it is now predicted that one in eight (or 12 percent) women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes.

About 2,470 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men in 2017. A man’s lifetime risk of breast cancer is about 1 in 1,000.

In Sampson County, the statistics go something like this: In 2017, the anticipated number of new breast cancer patients will be around 70 and the projected number of deaths related to that cancer for the year is nine.

All those figures, provided by the American Cancer Society, are a stark reminder that while great strides have been made in dealing with this particular cancer, it is still a very dangerous disease that, left undiagnosed and thereby untreated, continues to clam lives, even though death rates, thankfully, have been on the decline since 1989

October is National Brest Cancer Awareness Month. During the course of the next few weeks, health officials across the country, as well as members of the ACS, will try to heighten awareness of this deadly disease and the many ways in which women, and even men, can increase their odds of not becoming one of its victims.

Every man and woman should take heed of these warnings; the knowledge you obtain could just be what saves your life!

The facts are frightening but ones we should be made keenly aware of as health officials work to ensure we are all more attuned to the ways we can catch the disease early and increase our chances of survival.

While there have been many strides in the fight against breast cancer, the battle will not be won until no one else dies because of it. Helping to win that battle are agencies like our own Health Department and the local chapter of the Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program or BCCCP, which continuously promotes awareness of its programs, including free or low-cost screenings and follow-ups to eligible women locally.

Both also provide awareness events that hammer home the importance of mammograms and other screenings that can provide early detection.

Events are important. They celebrate the battle so many are winning against the disease, they honor and memorialize those who fought a brave fight but did not survive the struggle and they educate the public about the disease and the reasons why it’s so important to have mammograms and do self breast exams.

Taking part in activities, listening, reading and researching information provided and taking the necessary steps toward prevention and early detection serve to move us closer to the cure we all desperately want.

It’s that ounce of prevention come full circle.

Add to that our prayerful support of those fighting brave battles with the disease, and we hope we will have a county that is aware, compassionate and armed to go into battle against a tough disease that we won‘t allow to keep winning.

We should wear pink ribbons in honor of breast cancer survivors and in memory of those who’ve been the disease’s victims throughout this month and even longer, and we should wear them as a constant reminder of how much this one disease has impacted those in our county and probably in our own lives.

But most importantly we should pray that one day soon a cure will be found and cancer in all forms will be wiped from the face of this earth once and for all.

Breast Cancer Month has impact when action follows education