October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as breast cancer effects millions of Americans and families. It is the second most common cancer next to skin cancers and also is the second most deadly for women. Fortunately, treatment and prevention methods have improved over the last 20 years which has led to a substantial decrease in the amount of deaths from the disease. A major reason for this is the emphasis on detecting it early on through regular breast cancer screenings. Sometimes, breast cancer can be difficult to detect with many patients not showing any signs initially. Mammographs are the most common form of screening and are able to detect small tumors before they have the chance to increase in size and severity. In particular, women between the ages of 50 to 69 have lower death rates if they get mammographs. The American Cancer Society advises that women over 45 should regularly get mammographs.
Despite the recent progress, there are still significant challenges for women in dealing with breast cancer. There were still over 40,000 deaths from breast cancer in the U.S. In general, the amount of cases has slightly increased in recent cases which has been attributed to the increase in obesity rates and also lack of access to healthcare. Further, minorities (African-Americans in particular) and economically disadvantaged individuals have higher rates of death from breast cancer due to a combination of factors (genetics, lack of access to preventive healthcare, etc.). It’s important for women to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer. It’s also important for communities to spread awareness about the disease. There are many non-profit advocacy organizations that help raise awareness and provide support for breast cancer patients in treatment and in recovery. In Bucks County, Pine2Pink, a local non-profit based in Doylestown, has many fundraising events and promotions scheduled in the area during this month. For more information, please visit https://pine2pink.org/. Another non-profit in the area is the Healing Consciousness Foundation, located in Southampton, which provides a variety of services for breast cancer patients. For more information, please visit https://www.thehealingconsciousness.com/.
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