October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

A Column from the Desk of Assemblyman Karl Brabenec (R,C-Deerpark)

Throughout the month of October, non-for-profits and the people who make them up have been spreading awareness and providing resources in the continuing fight against breast cancer in New York. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second-most common cancer diagnosed for women in the United States. While it can affect both men and women, women are far more likely to be afflicted by it. But through efforts like Breast Cancer Awareness month, substantial awareness continues to be brought to patients, their families, and those not facing the scary reality of the disease, and breast cancer survival rates have continued to increase.

I have annually taken part in spreading awareness myself through the ‘Men Wear Pink’ program, a distinguished group of community leaders nationwide who put their time and energy in to help raise awareness and funds to support the mission to save more lives every year from breast cancer. I am proud to have been a small cog in a machine that has helped raise more than $40 million since its inception, which has contributed to a 24/7 helpline for answers and support, continued research and development, and the expansion of a network that fosters leadership, community, empathy and respect. Our role, as Men in Pink, is paramount to the continued advancement of breast cancer research and recovery, especially these days. In 2020, female breast cancer surpassed lung cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide. But through initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Men Wear Pink, the death rate from breast cancer has continued to decline, dropping by 41% from 1989 to 2018 thanks to efforts in early detection and increased mammography screening. Today, we can celebrate the fact that more than 3.8 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S., including those who have completed treatment and those who are still undergoing treatment.

Breast cancer is scary, but it does not have to be fought alone, because these days, it is not fought alone. The millions of scientists, advocates, and volunteers who have toiled for decades to save lives have done miraculous work, and they continue to do so to this day. If you or someone you know is concerned about potentially having to face breast cancer, please consider visiting their official resource website.