Breast cancer is still the second leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM), and the American Cancer Society is the only organization fighting the disease on all fronts. We provide education and guidance to help people reduce their risk of getting breast cancer; offer comprehensive support to individuals facing the disease; fund innovative breast cancer research; and take action to help make breast cancer a national priority through our nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate, ACS CAN.
This year alone, an estimated 266,120 women are expected to be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, and about 40,920 will die from it.
Additionally, we are committed to saving more lives from breast cancer by ensuring everyone has equal access to critical breast cancer education, screening resources, and follow-up care. In collaboration with community and corporate partners, we are working to help women who experience barriers to care, including the uninsured and underinsured, get access to potentially life-saving breast cancer screenings and care.
Our business goals are to:
- Increase breast cancer screenings to achieve greatest impact.
- Ensure adults are well-informed about the importance of regular breast cancer screenings and follow-up care.
- Increase breast cancer education, outreach, and access to screening resources for women in underserved communities.
- Support nationwide efforts to increase participation in and revenue through Making Strides Against Breast Cancer events, the Real Men Wear Pink campaign, and our breast cancer cause marketing relationships. (A separate story on just this will be coming soon!)
During the month, it is important for everyone to understand our screening guideline for the early detection of breast cancer. Starting at age 40, women should begin having a conversation with their doctor about the breast cancer screening plan that's best for them. Once they have their initial mammogram, it's important for them to have ongoing conversations with their doctor about regular, follow-up care.
The ACS currently invests $60.2 million in breast cancer research. We are funding scientists and medical professionals through 155 multi-year grants that focus on prevention, screening, and treatment advances. We have played a key role in many of the scientific advances against breast cancer, including funding early work that eventually led to the development of life-saving therapies like tamoxifen and Herceptin.
Since 1991, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) - a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention program - has provided more than 12.8 million breast and cervical cancer screening exams to more than 5.3 million women, detecting nearly 65,000 invasive breast cancers, nearly 4,500 invasive cervical cancers, and over 204,000 premalignant cervical lesions. Ensuring adequate funding for the NBCCEDP will preserve a critical safety net for women who continue to lack access to lifesaving screening, diagnostic, and treatment services.
ACS CAN is working in all 50 states to protect funding for breast and cervical cancer screening programs which provide screening, prevention, and early detection services to low-income, uninsured women. Supporters are encouraged to ask Congress to prioritize funding for these lifesaving cancer screenings, and they can learn more at fightcancer.org/makingstrides.
Despite advances in access to care and cancer prevention, screening, and treatment, significant disparities remain. Together, with partners like the National Football League® (NFL), ACS is addressing this by supporting access to important screening tests and other prevention and early detection activities in underserved communities.
Thanks to funding from the NFL, through our CHANGE grant program we have awarded $3.2 million to 32 health systems across the country to address disparities in breast cancer mortality that exist among women of color. Funding for these grants is made possible through the League's Crucial Catch campaign.
If you or someone you love is concerned about developing breast cancer, has been recently diagnosed, are going through treatment, or are trying to stay well after treatment, the American Cancer Society can help you find the answers you need. Contact us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or via cancer.org.