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Increase breast cancer awareness this month

At the Franklin County Times, we stand with those for whom October stirs feelings about breast cancer survivorship and support – and that’s nearly everyone. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who has not been directly or indirectly impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis.

This month is as good a time as any to tune into the facts about breast cancer and either take steps yourself, or encourage others to take steps, to keep this cancer at bay.

October was first dedicated for breast cancer awareness in 1985, and these 37 years later, it might seem impossible to imagine anyone not being “aware” of breast cancer.

Nevertheless, in many ways, the need is still great. The annual month-long awareness campaign continues as a call to be tuned into one’s breast health, to strengthen support for those battling the disease and to share information about symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of the cancer that has impacted so many.

Although the “commercialization” of breast cancer and the awareness month have caused some to scoff at the abundance of pink and the doom-and-gloom messaging, the fact is, breast cancer is a real problem hurting real people – our family and friends, our neighbors and our community.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. In addition, more than 2,000 men in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer each year.

The World Health Organization notes there are about 1.38 million new cases and 458,000 deaths from breast cancer each year.

Early detection is key to successful treatment of breast cancer, so with that in mind, we join the voices urging proactive self exams and mammograms.

If you think you can’t afford a mammogram or other scan, Russellville Hospital might be able to help. The Russellville Fire Department’s annual Breast Cancer Awareness T-shirt sale and the Book Lovers Study Club’s annual Walk to Wellness help support a fund at the hospital that benefits women who might find it challenging to pay for such scans.