American Cancer Society Fights to End Breast Cancer
by Evelyn Barella
Did you know that an estimated 232,340 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to occur among women in the U.S. in 2013 – including 8,140 Michigan women or 28 women in the state every day?
The American Cancer Society offers help and support to those diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, one out of every two women turns to the Society for help and support following their breast cancer diagnosis.
“The American Cancer Society encourages all women to put their health first. We want women to understand the benefits of eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol intake, and the effect those healthy habits can have on lowering their cancer risk,” said Jenni Beamer, American Cancer Society senior manager, community events for Greater Michigan.
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer. The Society reminds women 40 and older to have a yearly mammogram and clinical breast exam. Women ages 20 to 39 should receive a clinical breast exam at least once every three years. The American Cancer Society offers a Michigan Mammography Facility Guide that compares services, price and other information to help women choose the mammography facility best suited for them. The Michigan Mammography Facility Guide is available for free online at cancer.org/michiganmammogram.
“More than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors will celebrate a birthday this year thanks to early detection and improved treatment,” Beamer noted. “The five-year survival rate is 98% for breast cancer that is diagnosed in the earliest stages.”
The American Cancer Society is the most effective breast cancer-fighting organization in the world, spending more on breast cancer research than on any other cancer type and playing an important part in many major breast cancer research breakthroughs in the past century, including demonstrating that mammography is an effective screening test for breast cancer, the development of Tamoxifen and Herceptin, and knowledge that genetics, poor diet, lack of exercise and moderate drinking increase a person’s cancer risk.
The Society offers newly diagnosed women and those living with breast cancer a variety of programs and services to help them in their breast cancer experience. Those programs include:
- Reach To Recovery, where volunteers who are breast cancer survivors themselves offer one-on-one emotional support to newly diagnosed patients from the perspective of someone who has survived breast cancer.
- Look Good…Feel Better is for women who are in active cancer treatment. They learn beauty techniques to cope with the appearance-related side effects of their treatment. Certified cosmetologists provide tips on makeup, skin care, nail care and head coverings. Recurring sessions of this program take place at many local cancer centers and hospitals.
- The Society offers free information to help make treatment decisions and access to its programs 24/7 through 1-800-227-2345 or cancer.org.
- Wig banks, where your American Cancer Society works with local salons to provide wigs, hats, and turbans to people who are undergoing cancer treatment. Wigs are fitted and styled by a licensed cosmetologist, free-of-charge.
- Personal Health Manager is a free divided folder tool with information and resources specific to your diagnosis and treatment that allows you to organize materials, insurance information, test results and medical bills as well as write notes about your appointments, treatments, and questions for your healthcare provider.
- Road to Recovery is a free service to assist cancer patients with transportation to and from treatment and medical appointments.
- The Hope Lodge in Grand Rapids offers patients and their caregivers free lodging for those receiving treatment far from home.
- Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program is a partnership with departments of community health, where breast and cervical cancer screenings are offered at low or no cost to eligible women.
If you would like to help with becoming involved and to find the event nearest you, call 1-800-227-2345.