The Pryor Times

October 11, 2012

Breast cancer not just a woman’s disease

Senate Minutes

Sen. Charles Wyrick

— October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Except for skin cancer, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women—one in eight women will get breast cancer in her lifetime. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates for 2012 include 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer in women in the U.S.  But it is also important to point out that 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, according to ACS estimates.

Breast cancer is the second highest cause of cancer deaths in women after lung cancer. In 2012 it is estimated that 39,510 women and 410 men will die from the disease. The good news is that since 1990, the breast cancer death rate in women age 50 and older in the U.S. has been falling by about 2 percent per year. As of last year, there were more than 2.6 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S.

Self-exams and regular check-ups, including mammography are fundamental in saving lives. Beyond that physicians tell us that with just three hours of exercise a week—that’s about half an hour a day—a woman can lower her risk of breast cancer.  Low-fat diets with lots of fruits along with green and orange vegetables can reduce risk.

A high-fat diet increases the risk of breast cancer because fat triggers estrogen production that can fuel tumor growth. Smoking and heavy alcohol consumption can also increase your risk of getting breast cancer.

While women are overwhelmingly those most affected by breast cancer, it isn’t just a women’s disease—and not just because men are diagnosed with it each year. It is in every sense a disease that impacts everyone—the spouses, children, parents and other friends and family are all impacted by this disease.

Again, early detection and treatment save lives.  You can talk to your own health care provider about screening and treatment.  In addition, the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) provides public education, free and low-cost breast and cervical cancer screenings, and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured and underserved women.  To find out more, you can contact the Oklahoma Department of Health at 1-888-669-5934.    

As always, I welcome your comments on state government.  Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator Charles Wyrick at the State Capitol, Room 521, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5561.