We interrupt this regularly scheduled writers blog to make a public service announcement. On top of all the things I love about October (Fall! Wedding Anniversary! No Humidity! Leather Boots!) I also add Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honour of this most important month, I have changed my background blog post colour from green to pink and I'm posting some stats on breast cancer we all should be aware of (courtesy of the metro "think pink" columns appearing in the Toronto metro news this month):
An estimated 23,200 women in Canada were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 (an increase of 500 from 2009) and 5,300 died from the disease.
On average, 445 Canadian women are diagnosed with breast cancer every week.
One in nine (or 11 per cent) Canadian women are expected to develop breast cancer during their lifetime (by age 90).
Personal note: my mom was 73 when she was diagnosed in 2010 through a routine mammography. She is currently breast cancer free. My mother-in-law was 49 when she was diagnosed in the spring of 1975. She passed away in November of the same year leaving behind a devastated husband, 12 year old son and 16 year old daughter.)
At present, the five-year survival rate for female breast cancer in Canada is 87 per cent (84 per cent for men) which means women diagnosed with breast cancer have an 87 per cent likelihood of living for five years after their diagnosis.
Breast cancer death rates have declined in every age group since the mid-1990's.
Of the women who undergo mammography screening, about five per cent are invited for a return visit; of these, 90 per cent are given a clean bill of health and 10 per cent undergo further investigation.
An average of one in 2,500 women investigated will undergo surgery for breast cancer.
About 88 per cent of possible cases are detected by mammography.
Think about how far we have come. Think about how far we have to go. Think about your mom, sister, wife, daughter, granddaughter, son, husband, grandmother, grandfather, grandson, and friends who are touched or might be touched by cancer. Do everyone a favour: Get tested. Survive. For all of us.