What you do not know can hurt you

According to the National Cancer Institute, by the end of this year 232,340 women and 2,240 men in United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer.

It is further estimated that this year alone 39,620 women and 410 men will die as the result of breast cancer.

While the numbers can be staggering and breast cancer is not yet preventable, survival is definitely an option.

In the vast majority of cases, the difference between life and death is, quite simply, early detection.

In this issue, we are happy to share poignant stories with our readers about those who have fought the battle with breast cancer.

We are also sharing important facts regarding survival.

In addition, you will find a list of events designed to raise awareness and raise funds in the battle against cancer.

Pink has become the color for breast cancer awareness as we begin Breast Cancer Awareness Month we have gone pink with today’s edition in recognition of the month-long campaign.

The Susan G. Komen organization says a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer increases with age.

In fact, it is estimated the chances are at:

• age 20 — 1 in 1,681

• age 30 — 1 in 232

• age 40 — 1 in 69

• age 50 — 1 in 42

• age 60 — 1 in 29

• age 70 — 1 in 27

Over the course of a lifetime, it is estimated that 1 in 8 of all women will contract breast cancer.

While the numbers in men are much less, there is a risk factor nevertheless.

In addition to age and gender, various sources indicate other risk factors include family history, never having children, high levels of radiation exposure at a young age, high levels of estrogen or androgen, consuming more than one alcoholic drink per day, significant weight gain following menopause, having had ovarian cancer and taking certain forms of birth control.

Of course, these are not the only risk factors.

Readers can find more complete information from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute, the Susan G. Komen organization and, of course, their doctor’s office.

If there is a single message we can share that is more important than anything else, it is about the importance of early detection, and the two most important measures any woman can take are regular self-examination and regular mammography.

Self-screening and clinical screening are paramount for survival.

We encourage everyone to consult their primary care physician and, remember, that in the case of breast cancer, what you don’t know can hurt you.

— Editor Jim Zachary