October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Awareness of, prevention of and a cure for breast cancer is near and dear to my heart. In 1999, my Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. She was told she had less than a 50% chance of being here in five years. Thanks to the best care possible at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institute of Health and an amazing attitude, she's here and better than ever.
However, not every woman has access to the best care, or great doctors who work miracles, or even the knowledge to do what she can do to protect herself. Since 1991, I've made it my mission to support breast cancer research and Foundation programs that contribute to finding a cure. I know it's impacted many of your lives too, and I hope you'll join me in supporting great organizations that benefit survivors, victims and women everywhere.
Here are a few bits of information...
- There are 182,460 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in women in the United States each year (and 1,990 in men). Of these an estimated 40,480 women and 450 men will die from the disease.
- With the exception of skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, no matter your race or ethnicity. It is the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander and American Indian/Alaska Native women.
- It's never too late to adopt healthy behaviors that can reduce your risk... be physically active, maintain a healthy weight, cut down on “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats) and consume more “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, like olive and canola oil), take a daily multivitamin with folic acid.
- Do your research and know your stuff about early detection, diagnosis and treatment.
Getting tested regularly is the best way to lower their risk of dying from breast cancer. Screening tests can find breast cancer early, when it’s most treatable. If you are a woman with a family history, start testing no later than age 35.
Be your own advocate. Support groups that search for a cure. Hug your mom.