Every October, our nation recognizes breast cancer, a disease that impacts one in eight women during the course of their lifetimes. Raising awareness, continually seeking better treatments and supporting those who have been afflicted are all aspects that mark this important month.

Considering the staggering number of women that are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, the chances are pretty high that we know or have known someone who has suffered through it. Although the disease is most common among women, it affects men as well. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, about 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Providing a helping hand and encouraging words for our loved ones can make a big difference in helping them climb through such a difficult time.

While a lot of progress is being made as far as treatment is concerned, there is still a long way to go before any of us will be satisfied. I credit the doctors and other medical professionals, as well as others who have donated their time, money and ideas to address this issue head-on to help find a cure. I have no doubt that, someday, we will find a cure to breast cancer and many other diseases that, just 20 years ago, seemed unrealistic.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer that women face. Therefore, it is important that all women recognize the warning signs and remain proactive about addressing them. The Cleveland Clinic (http://my.clevelandclinic.org/breast_center) and University Hospitals (http://www.uhhospitals.org/seidman/services/breast-cancer-care-team) websites have information about self-detection and coping with reality after being diagnosed.

According to the site, 180,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. However, it also states that simply having all women over the age of 50 had a mammogram, the mortality rate could decrease by as much as 30 percent. If detected early, breast cancer has a five-year survival rate greater than 95 percent.

Clearly, being diagnosed with breast cancer is not a death sentence, but you must be proactive about receiving screenings and check-ups. I hope you all will share this information with loved ones and encourage them to have a mammogram this year. That one simple step can save lives down the road.


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