I first became “aware” of breast cancer in August of 2000 when my mother was diagnosed with the disease. We had no family history of breast cancer. Yet, while the diagnosis was a surprise, her journey to the diagnosis was not. Instead, it was a practice of being proactive, resolute and determined.
Having mammogram after mammogram come back as negative, my mother just **sensed** something wasn't right, as each doctor told her it was. As the fear was realized and her senses confirmed, an ultrasound revealed she in fact, did have the disease.
After 3 years of both radiation and chemotherapy treatments, as well as an incredible face and conviction of fight, my mother died from breast cancer at the age of 62 on October 7, 2003. As I would hear a quote later and what unmistakably defined my mother, “she didn’t lose her battle with cancer, she just ran out of time to fight.”
October is here and with it comes breast cancer awareness month and a reminder of the staggering statistics. More than 180,000 women in the United States will learn they have breast cancer this year, and another 41,000 will die from it. While treatments and life-expectancies have gotten better and better, breast cancer is still a formidable disease as one in eight American women will face breast cancer during her lifetime.
Interesting Breast Cancer Facts:
-About 85 percent of women who develop the disease do not have a family history.
-Risk factors for breast cancer include: women who have never had children or have children past the age of 35, drinking more than one alcoholic drink a day, current or recent use of birth control pills, being overweight or adult weight gain among others.
-Women who have either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation have an 80% chance of getting breast cancer, and tests have shown this gene runs in families.
-The older you get, the more likely you are to develop breast cancer.
-Mammograms fail to detect up to 20% of cancers in the breast.
Being proactive and thoroughly involved in your own health is key to early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Many treatment options are available and many decisions are involved in the journey with and through breast cancer. This is why education and awareness are so important.
While not always true in the past, resources and educational tools are available at your fingertips. Through groups like Susan G Komen and the American Cancer Society, billions of dollars have been raised to help find a cure. More and more companies are brandishing the pink ribbon that is associated with breast cancer awareness as millions of dollars of proceeds are sent to helping the cause.
Now it’s your turn to get involved. Chances are, you know someone, are related to someone or ARE someone who is battling breast cancer. With the help of research and testing, we are closer than ever to a cure. It is support, awareness and involvement that will allow everyone to say they helped find a cure.
How you can get involved:
**Susan G Komen Race For The Cure: Saturday, October 11, Waterfront Park
Registration is underway for the 13th Annual Louisville Komen Walk. Up to 75% of the funds raised during this walk will stay in Kentuckiana.
For more information, please visit: http://www.komenlouisville.org/site/PageServer
**Making Strides Against Breast Cancer: Sunday, October 26, Waterfront Park
Registration is underway and proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society
For more information, please visit: http://makingstrides.acsevents.org/louisville
**Wacoal America Fit For The Cure: Receive a complimentary fitting in a Wacoal, DKNY Underwear or Donna Karan Intimates bra from a Wacoal fit specialist. For every woman that participates*, Wacoal will donate $2 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure
Friday October 17: Dillard’s at Jefferson Mall from 11-7
Saturday October 18: Dillard’s at Mall St. Matthews from 10-4
For more information, please visit: http://www.wacoal-america.com/fitforthecure.html
**Horses and Hope – Breast Cancer Race Days: Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs.
Information about prevention and treatment of breast cancer as well as offering free screenings with an on-site mobile mammography unit at each of these events will be available at the track
**Jewish Hospital: Breast Cancer Support Group, meets the 2nd Thursday of each month
Please call 502/587-4108 for more information
**Need to have someone reminded to be proactive in their breast health? You can have Ellen Degeneres make a “Wake Up Call” to them. See http://oneaday.varitalk.com/ for more information.
October represents a chance for everyone to get involved with breast cancer awareness. Remind a woman to have a mammogram. Go with your mom to the doctor. Ask your wife when the last time was that she had a check up. Send out the link to this story. Do something and get involved. The responsibility and celebration for a cure is all of ours.
For more information about breast cancer please visit any of the following sites: