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Get involved with Breast Cancer Awareness Month

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October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month for the last three decades and we unfortunately still need that designation today.

In 2014, there were 25,801 new breast cancer cases in the state. Here in Placer County, the number was 326 new cases. The total number of cases that year in California was 349,600, according to the nonprofit American Cancer Society.

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death among women, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Although breast cancer in men is much lower, an estimated 2,470 men in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer and about 460 will die each year.

Consider the following scary statistics from the foundation. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer. That equates to more than 252,710 women in the United States being told she has this cancer. Of that number, more than 40,500 will die. Or, using different stats, a woman is diagnosed with breast every two minutes and one woman will die of breast cancer every 13 minutes.

But, as the foundation also states, there are 3.3-million breast cancer survivors alive in the United States today.

We want the number of survivors to be 100 percent.

That’s why early detection is crucial.

All of us need to remind our families, friends, workers and acquaintances that breast cancer is one topic we must act on, because the consequences of not being aware and taking preventative measures are heartbreaking.

And it’s possible that a cure for breast cancer will eventually be found.

Until that time, however, we have to do our part in keeping our loved ones and ourselves healthy. That means women 40 and over need to get an annual mammogram, which the World Health Organization says is the only breast cancer screening method that is effective.

We can also get a free symptoms guide by visiting http://resources.nationalbreastcancer.org/know-the-symptoms.

For those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer, there are multiple resources to help them before, during and after treatment. The American Cancer Society shares some of those resources at cancer.org or at the toll-free 800-227-2345.

We should also be there for others going through breast cancer treatment, according to Caron Russell, an American Cancer Society senior community development manager.

Donations are also needed year-round to help find a cure and to help provide patient services for those who need help.

For starters, there is the American Cancer Society.

Locally, there is the nonprofit Placer Breast Cancer Foundation. The foundation is a volunteer-run group that raises funds for research, education and outreach throughout a five-county region. Its predecessor was the Placer Breast Cancer Endowment, formed by Placer County residents Carol Garcia and Teri Munger in 2005 to successfully raise $1.5 million to endow a Breast Cancer Chair at the U.C. Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

And this weekend, Placer County residents can show their support for finding a cure by attending two events. On Saturday, the 11th annual NASCAR K&N Pro Series October Classic at @theGrounds in Roseville will donate proceeds to the Placer Breast Cancer Foundation (allamericanspeedway.com for more information).

Then on Sunday, the 21st annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk will be held at the state Capitol’s west steps. Placer County residents of all ages are among the expected 25,000 to 28,000 walkers expected to participate in the American Cancer Society’s 5K walk. The walk starts at 8 a.m. and registration starts at 7 a.m. Sunday’s event includes music, survivor speakers, information booths and food at 10th Street between L and N streets. There is no charge but donations are accepted.

We can fight breast cancer together. So many lives are dependent on our help.