October Is “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” Make The Time For A Mammogram
Legislative column from Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb (R,I,C-Canandaigua)
September 30, 2011
We recognize October as “National Breast Cancer Awareness Month” to both honor the lives lost each year to this disease and spread the word about the importance of early detection. October marks a change in seasons from summer to fall and also provides an excellent opportunity for women who have not yet had their regular mammogram to make a potentially positive change in their health and lives. Simply put, mammograms have been proven to help save lives and are one of the most important early detection tools we have in the fight against breast cancer. Hardworking doctors and scientists have made real progress combating this deadly disease, and New Yorkers have a proud history of supporting research with an income tax check-off, but much more work remains. WHY MAMMOGRAMS ARE VITALLY IMPORTANT TO NEW YORK WOMEN Breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer in women, aside from skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among women in 2009 and approximately 1,910 new cases were expected to be found in men. I am disturbed by these facts, so I support legislation (A.5313) that would create a breast cancer registry in New York state and direct the state Department of Health to investigate and research the causes, prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer. These statistics seem daunting, but the good news is that approximately 95 percent of all mammograms prove to be normal. By taking advantage of routine mammogram screening, women and the people who love them will gain peace of mind. There are many wonderful free informational resources available to women who have questions about breast cancer or want to locate an accredited mammography facility in their community. ADELPHI NY STATEWIDE BREAST CANCER HOTLINE & SUPPORT PROGRAM: OVER 30 YEARS OF ANSWERS ABOUT BREAST CANCER This October, I am proud to once again promote the availability of the Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline & Support Program. With over 30 years of service to New Yorkers, this program is the first initiative in our state to exclusively address the psychosocial issues associated with breast cancer. Adelphi offers the only comprehensive, university-based breast cancer counseling program in New York staffed by certified social workers offering diversified support groups, as well as individual and family counseling. Best of all, the informational and referral services are provided free of charge. The program is a project of the Adelphi University School of Social Work on Long Island, and its mission is to “educate, support, empower and advocate for breast cancer patients, professionals and the community.” The initiative does so by offering a toll-free hotline and informational website that provide detailed answers to questions about breast cancer. BREAST CANCER HOTLINE & WEBSITE: 1-800-877-8077 The Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer hotline – 1-800-877-8077 – is available seven days a week and answers nearly 4,000 calls each year. Callers can speak with specially trained, professionally supervised volunteers, many of whom have had breast cancer themselves, for information, referrals and emotional support. In addition to the program’s hotline, there also is a website from Adelphi University available to assist women in locating an accredited mammography facility in their community. The website provides an online clearinghouse for breast cancer resources, including terminology, questions you should ask your doctor, support groups available to offer assistance and ways you can volunteer to promote public awareness of breast cancer and the critical importance of early detection and mammography. HELPING A LOVED ONE FACE BREAST CANCER The Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Program website provides several tips for family members and friends of someone with breast cancer. Friends and family can help a loved one with breast cancer by offering specific help with chores, meals, transportation, child care and other activities. Providing positive support also can include listening to the affected person and letting them express their feelings, expecting their moods to change and just ‘being there.’ OCTOBER IS THE RIGHT TIME TO MAKE TIME FOR A MAMMOGRAM We have made great strides against breast cancer. Our community is full of success stories of women who have overcome breast cancer. They are living proof that mammograms save lives. Won’t you follow their good example? October is the perfect time to schedule this potentially life-saving exam. As always, constituents wishing to discuss this topic or any other state-related matter should contact my district office at (315) 781-2030, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.