Most, if not all, of us, have been touched by breast cancer. Many of us have loved ones who have succumbed to breast cancer. Many of us also have friends and family who have had breast cancer diagnosed and have beaten it. Many of us know of those who are fighting it now. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we take this opportunity to provide resources and information and to promote support for those affected by breast cancer.
Here is some important information about breast cancer, and a few steps you can take educate yourself and loved ones about this type of cancer:
• What is breast cancer? Breast cancer is a malignant tumor that starts in the cells of the breast. A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that can grow into surrounding tissues or spread to other areas of the body. The disease occurs almost entirely in women, but can be diagnosed in men as well.
• Who gets breast cancer? In 2011, an estimated 230,480 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed among women. Ninety-five of these cases were diagnosed in women older than 40. Women living in the United States have a one in eight lifetime risk of breast cancer diagnosis. That means in Madison County, where, according to the 2010 Census, there are 7,882 women, 985 of those women are at risk for breast cancer. Men older than 40 are at much lower risk, but they should report any concerns to a physician.
• How should women monitor their breast health to promote early detection? The American Cancer Society suggests the following guidelines for monitoring breast health:
• Age 20-39. Clinical breast examination at least every three years, breast self-examination.
• Age 40 and older: Annual mammogram, annual clinical breast examination (preferably prior to mammogram), breast self-examination.
Madison County Health Care System offers digital mammograms in our recently renovated mammography suite. Schedule an appointment by calling:(515) 462-5214. We have programs for the under-insured and for those who do not have insurance.
You don’t have to send a check to a national organization to show your support of the fight to end breast cancer. You have the opportunity to really get behind the effort locally by participating in the third annual Bras for The Cause which is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 19, at the Jackson Building on the Madison County Fairgrounds. Food, friends and fun — it’s an event for men and women and a night for a good cause. For more information on this great event, call (515) 462-2833. The proceeds provide funding for free mammograms for Madison County women who are unable to afford the procedure.
Madison County Health Care wants to be your partner in the fight to stop breast cancer. Get your mammogram scheduled, and take care of your health.
Information provided by Chris Nolte, director, Public Relations and Development, Madison County Health Care Systems, 300 West Hutchings, Winterset, 515-462-9749.