October 26, 2020 | Geneva Flanagan-Benedict
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women and is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths for women across the globe1. According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, about every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and it will claim the lives of 42,000 women a year. Because of this, October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness to promote the education and research towards a cure.
Education and early detection are cornerstones in the fight against breast cancer. There are many factors involved in a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer, not just family history. In fact, 90% of those diagnosed will have no family history2, so knowing how to identify early signs of breast cancer is key. The Susan G. Komen Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Foundation are excellent resources to find more information about early detection including educational guides, breast self-exams, and suggestions of what to do if you are concerned you may have breast cancer.
In the research realm, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is making incredible progress by developing innovative techniques, applying new technology, and looking to genetics to make an impact. Their Cancer Intervention and Surveillance Modeling network (CISNET) focuses on simulation modeling to understand how early detection, screening, and treatments affect breast cancer outcomes. NCI is also using the Confluence Project to develop a resource for research using data from thousands of breast cancer patients to identify genes associated with risk, prognosis, and response to treatment. This work requires a great deal of effort by many to accomplish and NetImpact Strategies is helping support this research in the fight against not just breast cancer, but all cancers. The team at NCI provides program support and thought leadership across the different divisions of NCI to ensure the agency can focus their resources on the goal; cancer research across the nation to advance scientific knowledge and help all people live longer, healthier lives3.
Although great progress has been made, you can further our reach to a cure by volunteering or supporting fundraising efforts. You can volunteer to become a Community Ambassador for the National Breast Cancer Foundation or an Advocate through the Susan G. Komen Foundation sharing breast health education in your community. There are also many non-profit organizations who would appreciate your donation including the American Cancer Society and the National Breast Cancer Coalition. If you want to really increase your impact, this month the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Susan G. Komen Foundation are tripling every dollar that you donate. Whether you donate your time, or donate financially towards the fight against breast cancer, working together we can make an impact.
1 Torre L, Bray F, Siegel R, Ferlay J, Lortet-tieulent J, Jemal A. Global cancer statistics, 2012. CA Cancer J Clin. 2015;65:87–108. doi: 10.3322/caac.21262. https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.3322/canjclin.55.2.74