If you’re seeing a lot of pink lately, it’s not a coincidence — October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This worldwide annual campaign is designed to increase awareness and promote regular screening and early detection of breast cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, almost 298,000 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year and more than 43,000 will die of the disease. An estimated 2,800 men are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer and 530 will die of the disease this year.
I’d guess there are many of you for whom this hits home. Maybe you’ve had a family member, friend, or co-worker affected by breast cancer. Fortunately, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, if it is caught in its early and localized stages, the five-year relative survival rate is 99%, which is why early detection is important. But early detection and access to care go hand-in-hand. Without access to care — in this case, mammograms and screenings — it makes it that much harder to detect a problem.
That’s why the work your hospitals are doing is so important. For patients in need, the resources you offer can sometimes mean the difference between life and death. In addition, the support that hospitals provide to those who have difficulty accessing the services due to financial challenges, language barriers, or lack of transportation can be instrumental in helping patients get the care they need. We must all keep spreading the word — in addition to just wearing pink — and working to ensure that care remains available and accessible. With early detection, cancer is so much more treatable and even curable. And by working to promote early detection and access to care, we can save lives.