Breast cancer advice from a survivor

Editor:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I encourage all women to follow the American Cancer Society guidelines for the early detection of breast cancer.

If you are 40 years of age or older, please get a mammogram and have a clinical breast exam every year. And don’t forget the importance of monthly breast self-exams.

If you are a woman between the ages of 20 to 39, make sure you perform a monthly breast self-exam and have a clinical breast examination by your health care professional every three years.

Being a woman is the greatest risk factor for breast cancer. Yes, increasing in age and family history are other risk factors. But, breast cancer can and does touch women of all races and ages.

I am lucky and fortunate to be a breast cancer survivor. Many women refuse to take a proactive role against breast cancer and ignore the situation completely.

By the end of this year, about 203,500 women throughout the United States are expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Also, by the end of 2002, about 39,600 women in this country will die from this disease.

Numbers can be confusing and many women think they won’t ever become a statistic. Unfortunately, I wish that was true, but it’s not.

Remember: early detection can save your life or the life of someone you love.

Pattie Coplin

East Liverpool, Ohio

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