EDITORIAL: The numbers don’t lie: Breast cancer a serious matter
We are guessing you’ve noticed the bright pink banner on the front page of today’s edition of The News Journal.
All the pink you see during October, particularly the ribbons - is in reference to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In recent years the campaign has grown and taken on a greater importance, and rightly so.
The number of pink ribbons attest to the number of people who have survived, who are battling breast cancer, and those who lost the fight. The numbers are growing. October reminds us of just how many people we know and love, those who are co-workers, neighbors, friends and family, who battle this disease.
Here are some startling numbers reprinted from the National Breast Cancer Foundation web site, www.nationalbreastcancer.org:
• In 2020, an estimated 268,600 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in women in the U.S. There will be 62,930 new cases of non-invasive breast cancer.
• 62 percent of breast cancer cases are diagnosed at a localized stage, for which the 5-year survival rate is 99 percent.
• This year, an estimated 41,760 women will die from breast cancer in the U.S.
• Although rare, men get breast cancer too. The lifetime risk for U.S. men is about 1 in 1,000.
• An estimated 2,670 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year in the United States and approximately 500 will die.
• 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
• Breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women, except for skin cancers.
• There are over 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.
• On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
• Female breast cancer represents 15.2 percent of all new cancer cases in the U.S.
These numbers get your attention, and they should. Breast cancer is a most serious issue and it should concern everyone. Breast cancer pays no heed to socio-economics, race or age. It can strike any woman – and yes, any man – at any time.
There has been good news, very good news, in the fight against breast cancer in recent years. According to report, which is published every two years by the American Cancer Society, breast cancer deaths have declined by 39 percent between 1989 and 2018. That's about 322,600 fewer victims.
What we can take from this is simply that breast cancer is defeatable, especially if diagnosed early. The increased awareness effort of recent years appears to be paying dividends both from a medical advancement perspective as well as from women understanding that regular mammograms are vital.
That said, the fight continues. Breast cancer awareness should not be viewed as a topic to be considered for a few weeks each year in the fall then ignored the remaining 11 months of each year.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is about raising awareness, raising funds, sharing information and needs.
But it’s not just about October. It’s about reminding us that funds must be raised, precautions must be taken and the battle will continue being fought each and every day until there is a cure.