Oct 122003
Authors: J.J. Babb

Pass the word.

Every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer

(National Breast Cancer Foundation.)

Pass the word.

One woman in eight who lives to age 85 will develop breast

cancer during her lifetime (NBCF.)

Pass the word.

According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, a national Breast

cancer organization, new cases of breast cancer have increased by

about 1 percent per year in the United States since the 1940s. Just

recently it has shown signs of leveling off. Nevertheless, an

estimated 203,500 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in

American women in 2002 alone.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and with women all

over the world joining in the fight against breast cancer,

hopefully these numbers will continue to decline. In fact, the

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month coalition is hoping the

public will “pass the word” this month and all year to as many

women as possible that:

* Early detection of breast cancer saves lives.

* Women should know how their breasts normally feel and report

any change to a health care provider

* Both breast self-examinations starting at the age of 20 and

clinical breast examinations every three years for women in their

20s and 30s and every year for women 40 and over should be part of

regular breast awareness activities.

Completing self-exams is the best method of protecting yourself

against dying from breast cancer. With 70 percent of all breast

cancers found through self breast exams, according to NCBF, there

is no reason early detection cannot continue to rise and with it,

early treatment. Although nine out of ten breast lumps is not

cancerous, any unusual changes should be checked out by a doctor.

When breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate

is 96 percent (NBCF) and this rate should only increase with our


Although my best friend insists her boyfriend knows what her

breasts feel like and will notice any changes, each of us, no

matter our age, need to know our own body inside and out and not

count on others to do so for us. By doing self-exams once a month,

each of us can become familiar with the way our breasts look and

feel normally and thus may recognize changes later on more


To learn how to do a self-breast exam ask your doctor or call

the Susan G. Komen Foundation National Breast Care Helpline at

1-800-462-9273. Instructions are also posted on their web site at


The Komen Foundation suggests when a woman decides to do a

self-exam she should put in extra time learning how to do it

correctly and use it only in addition to, not instead of, annual

clinical breast exams.

So, pass the word.

“This year’s program, ‘Pass the Word,’ really sums up what is

most important in October and all throughout the year,” said Susan

Nathanson, National Coordinator, NBCAM in a press release. “Early

detection saves lives and this campaign challenges the public to

share this important message with their friends and loved


So, pass the word today, tomorrow and next week-Breast cancer

kills, but with early detection and treatment many of our mothers,

sisters, friends and selves may be saved.




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