While nearly twice as many women are likely to die from lung cancer this year, breast cancer has still managed to grab center stage, thanks to a local and national grassroots effort that can only be described as amazing.
In case you haven’t noticed — and how can you not with much of the nation awash in pink — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The universal awareness in breast cancer is probably why we are seeing so many survivors. The foundation of that campaign begins with early detection and breast screenings, or mammograms.
Breast cancer has become a fairly common diagnosis, with an estimated 230,000 new cases each year. In fact, according to statistics, 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer at some point in her lifetime.
Most health professionals strongly suggest that women 40 and older get annual mammograms, a simple procedure many survivors credit with saving their lives.
Thanks to a grant from the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Roseburg’s Community Cancer Center offers services to “ensure that all people, regardless of race, income, geography, or insurance status have access to screening, quality breast cancer treatment and support services.”
You can find more information on those services through the Community Cancer Center, or on the Internet at southernoregonscreen.webstarts.com.
And while we continue to focus on the early diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, we can’t forget about the even-deadlier lung cancer that claims an estimated 150,000 lives each year.
At 27 percent, or almost 3 out of every 10 residents, Douglas County’s smoking rate is much higher than state and national averages. More startling is smoking among pregnant women. The 2013 Oregon Tobacco Fact Sheet reports that one-quarter (almost twice the state average) of pregnant Douglas County women smoke.
Smoking during pregnancy causes premature birth, birth defects and infant deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Community Cancer Center will soon launch a campaign designed to bring awareness to the dangers of tobacco, a problem some health experts attribute to community acceptance.
The good news is that the number of young smokers seems to be dropping, which we suspect is attributable to early anti-smoking education.
Smokers looking for some help in kicking the habit can call the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW, or 1-800-784-8669.
Our community is fortunate to have so many champions on the front lines of its fight against all types of cancer. At the center of that fight is our own nonprofit Community Cancer Center.