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Reduce your risk of breast cancer

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Dear Editor:

In spite of tremendous breakthroughs in diagnosis and treatment, breast cancer remains the most common cancer, and the second leading cause of cancer death for women in the U.S.

With more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer and more than 40,000 deaths nationwide last year alone, it is imperative for every woman to know what she can do to protect herself from this terrible disease.

For yourself: Get screened! Early detection of breast cancer dramatically increases women's chances of survival -- with nearly 98 percent of women surviving breast cancer as a result of receiving an early diagnosis and treatment. American Cancer Society recommends yearly mammograms starting at age 40. To determine your own estimated lifetime risk of cancer, go to the National Cancer Institute's Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool at www.cancer.gov/bcrisktool/. If your lifetime risk is >25%, be sure to talk with your medical provider about additional steps you can take to reduce your risk.

For your friends, family and community: Here are just a few ways you can join the fight to finish breast cancer:

• Make a donation of time or money to a local coalition or hospital foundation that provides support for people with breast cancer in your community.

• Register, fundraise and walk in one of nearly 300 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer (MSABC) events across the U.S., or participate virtually at Making

StridesWalk.org.

• Take action to help make fighting breast cancer a top national political priority at acscan.org/makingstrides.

• Learn more at cancer.org/fightbreastcancer.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Celebrate by taking action to reduce your risk!

Karen Forest
Screening Systems Specialist, American Cancer Society

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