National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 7, 2005

MARENGO COUNTY-The Marengo County Deepsouth Network for cancer control is asking people from around the area to join them in recognizing October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

During the month of October, the Marengo County Community Health Advisors as Research Partners (CHARP’s) will be stressing the importance of breast screening around the country as a reminder and observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The group is asking businesses and churches to display a pink bow on their door, window or somewhere outside during the month of October.

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Dora Whitted, Marengo County’s coordinator for the Deepsouth Network for Cancer Control said the group has been performing their programs for five years and thanks to recently acquired funding, they will continue for five more.

“This is the second phase of this project,” Whitted said. “The program has been going on since 2000 and we recently received funding for five more years to bring early detection to this area.”

Whitted said they have been able to add to the program this year.

“The program had always included breast cancer awareness detection, but this time we were able to add cervical and colorectal cancer,” Whitted said. “We are planning to hold an informative type meeting.”

The focus of the groups upcoming meetings will be to get members of the community involved in the fight against cancer. Whitted requested help from all over Marengo County to do this.

“We are trying to form a community interest group in Marengo County to get local officials and citizens involved,” Whitted said. “We are hoping these groups can come up with a community plan for Marengo County and get that plan to the people.”

The groups mission is to make women and their families aware of this disease and encourage them to get facts about breast cancer and learn the importance and benefits of early detection.

According to the American Cancer Society, when breast cancers are diagnosed and detected early the five-year survival rate is 97 percent compared to a rate of only 23.3 percent for breast cancers diagnosed in later stages.

The American Cancer Society recommends women age 40 or older have annual mammogram. This test is used to look for breast disease in women who appear to have no breast problems.

They also recommend women in their 20’s and 30’s have a clinical breast exam as part of a regular exam by a health care professional every three years. A final early detection tool for breast cancer is the breast self-examination (BSE). Starting in their 20’s, women are encouraged to participate in monthly breast self exams.

The American Cancer Society estimates that 3,280 women in Alabama will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an additional 730 women will die from the disease in 2005.

The mission of the group is to reduce breast, cervical and colorectal cancer health disparities in the Alabama Black Belt and the Mississippi Delta by educating the public on prevention and early diagnosis.

For more information contact Whitted at (205) 398-3792.