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Cancer survivors bringing awareness

Nayaba Arinde | 10/17/2013, 2:46 p.m.
They’re Making Strides in Brooklyn. On Sunday, Oct. 20, at Nethermead in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, the American Cancer Society is ...
breast cancer pink ribbon

They’re Making Strides in Brooklyn. On Sunday, Oct. 20, at Nethermead in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, the American Cancer Society is hosting their annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.

Cancer, cancer, cancer. The thought of it, the experience, is frightening. But there is hope. That’s why there are the charities, the runs and the walks, the support groups, the information centers and the brave individuals who go out and share their stories, inspiring courage and faith that those diagnosed with a cancer can fight the disease, and with resources, medicine, diet and maybe surgery, they can survive, thrive and leap tall buildings in a single bound.

This is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wherein people turn their attention to prevention, cure and awareness. It is of course a year-round struggle, during which time survivors count their blessings and thank their support systems, and families and friends do the same.

“Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the United States, other than skin cancer. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer,” says the American Cancer Society. “For over the past 20 years, we have helped more than 4 million women get potentially lifesaving breast cancer screening tests.”

Commenting on an article she had read about breast cancer, Sharon, the kind assistant in my dentist’s office, asked me about my experience. She seemed worried. I assured her that she should not be frantic, but that she should be self-checking and speaking to her physician if necessary. I said that early detection can be a lifesaver. When young ladies—or even older ones—ask me about breast cancer treatments, I tell them that they don’t even have to go through all the surgeries and chemotherapy if the cancer is caught early enough.

Is it genetics? Perhaps, but so many of us do not have breast cancer in our family. Is it the environment? Is it the fast food with all the steroids and whatnot? Is it pharmaceuticals? Someone somewhere close is looking into the probable cause as to why so many people seem to suddenly be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Meanwhile, we survivors and our great networks—even the tiniest ones—move onward and upward. We always have concerns. We live our lives. We work. We raise our families. We get passionate about whatever it is that floats our boat: social justice, culture or politics. We keep an eye on our health. We keep it going.

According to the American Cancer Society, “The chance of a woman having invasive breast cancer sometime during her life is about 1 in 8. The chance of dying from breast cancer is about 1 in 36. Breast cancer death rates have been going down. This is probably the result of finding the cancer earlier and better treatment. Right now, there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States.”

For more information, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-227-2345 or visit makingstrides.acsevents.org.