Did you know that the American Cancer Society invests more in breast cancer research than any other cancer type to find, prevent, treat and cure the disease? We’re in every community providing free information and services to people fighting the disease. Today, one in every two women newly diagnosed with breast cancer turns to us for help and support. Over the past 20 years, we have helped more than 4 million women get potentially lifesaving breast cancer screening tests.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer. The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer some time during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
For nearly 70 years, the American Cancer Society has been finding the answers that help us understand how to prevent, detect, and treat all cancer types, including breast cancer. Because of the support received from American Cancer Society funding, researchers have made advancements that have saved countless lives. Currently, the American Cancer Society has 128 grants with almost $75 million invested to find the answers that will help save lives from breast cancer. You should know that ACS funded research is:
1) Trusted: ACS is a trusted source of breast cancer research information for patients, survivors, advocates, researchers and policy maker.
2) Impactful: Breast cancer research conducted internally by the society’s researchers or funded by the society has an impact moving breast cancer research forward.
3) Far-reaching: The society’s comprehensive mission, which includes research, implementation and advocacy, allows us to turn research into policy and practice.
4) Unique: ACS is the only cancer charity that funds extramural (outside ACS) and intramural (inside ACS) research. The synergy between the two groups covers research throughout the cancer continuum.
Many people ask if there is anything they can do to prevent breast cancer, and while there are no firm answers, the following steps can help you stay well and improve your odds against breast cancer:
- The earlier breast cancer is found, the better. If you are 40 or older, get a mammogram and breast exam every year, and report any breast changes to your doctor right away.
- You can help reduce your breast cancer risk by maintaining a healthy weight throughout life, being physically active on a regular basis (at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week) and limiting alcohol intake to less than one drink each day for women and two drinks for men).
- If you do find yourself facing breast cancer, know that locally we continue to serve breast cancer patients in our resource room with wigs, bras and scarves, and our “Look Good Feel Better” program held in Naples gives women guidance on how to take care of themselves while going through cancer treatments. In the event that our patients need help with transportation or lodging, assistance is also available.
So, as you can see your American Cancer Society is attacking breast cancer on all fronts from research to treatments to local services to ensure that more women survive this disease. All of this is made possible by you — members of our community who support the American Cancer Society with their time and treasure. You make it possible for these advances to be discovered, tested and implemented. We cannot thank you enough.
We can’t let up now with so much left to be done. You can help us finish this fight by joining us at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk on Oct. 11 at Cambier Park in Naples. Go to www.makingstrideswalk.org/naples for more information, to make a donation or to sign up a team. I will be there and would love to see a large contingent from Marco Island at the event.
For more information about breast cancer, how to find it early and how to help finish the fight against the disease, visit our our breast cancer information resources online at www.cancer.org or contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 anytime, day or night.
This is an ongoing series of columns dedicated to informing the Marco Island community about The American Cancer Society, the nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy, and service. The Marco Island American Cancer Society office is located at 583 Tallwood, Unit 101 and is open daily from 9AM-5PM. For more information about volunteer opportunities, events and services please contact Sue Olszak or Lisa Honig at 239-642-8800.
Breast Cancer Facts
- An estimated 232,670 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014.
- An estimated 40,000 women in the U.S. will die from the disease in 2014.
- Breast cancer is not only a women’s disease. In 2014, about 2,360 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and 430 men will die from it.
- Breast cancer death rates decreased by 34 percent between 1990 and 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available).
- Between the early 1990s, when breast cancer death rates started dropping, and 2010, more than 203,000 deaths have been prevented.