According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer among women in the U.S. To help bring attention to this disease, Breast Cancer Awareness Month is observed annually during the month of October. Organizations across the U.S. will be sharing information about the disease, as well as offering support to those battling, or recovering from, a breast cancer diagnosis.

EDUCATION AND EARLY DETECTION HELPS SAVE LIVES

In New York State, breast cancer was at the top of the list of new cancer cases reported in 2016, and the second-highest cancer resulting in death. Early detection and diagnosis are key to overcoming these startling statistics. Health care professionals recommend women over 40 should schedule a mammogram every two years. Specialists agree that advanced screening is important to finding cancer at an early stage when it can be treated, and may be cured. The National Breast Cancer Foundation offers useful information on its website, including symptoms and signs to look for. Through increased awareness, we can hope to reduce the number of breast cancer diagnoses and instances in which the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. 

SUPPORT IN OUR OWN COMMUNITY

The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester (BCCR) continues to provide support, education and advocacy for individuals and their families affected by breast cancer here in our community and across the region.

Individuals who have received a diagnosis of breast cancer may want to consider looking into the many free programs, support groups or other workshops and classes offered by BCCR. Additionally, on Oct. 23, BCCR will host its annual “Lives Touched, Lives Celebrated” event. The event pays tribute to all the women and men who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and includes a candlelight walk, music and poetry — a true celebration of their lives.

On Oct. 15, the Breast Cancer Coalition will host a seminar, “Genetics and Breast Cancer,” highlighting advances in the field of cancer genetics and its effects on breast cancer diagnoses and treatment options.    

MEN CAN BE AFFECTED BY BREAST CANCER, TOO

One common myth is that men cannot be diagnosed with breast cancer. This is incorrect. In fact in 2019, more than 2,600 men are expected to be diagnosed with, and an estimated 500 will die from, breast cancer. Although these numbers are far lower than those for women, it is no less important that men be aware of symptoms, talk to their medical providers and take prevention seriously.

Eradicating breast cancer is always the goal, but until then, it is important to support those who are fighting or recovering from breast cancer, participate in awareness campaigns and contribute to organizations that focus on advancements in medicine, technology and research to ultimately find a cure for all types of cancer.

What do you think?  I want to hear from you. Send me your feedback, suggestions and ideas regarding this or any other issue facing New York State. You can always contact my district office at 315-781-2030, email me at kolbb@nyassembly.gov, find me by searching for Assemblyman Brian Kolb on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.  

Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua, represents the 131st District, which includes Ontario County and part of Seneca County.