An analysis by the American Cancer Society shows one out of two women diagnosed with breast cancer turns to the Society for help and support. The Society offers 24/7 support to those diagnosed with breast cancer and their loved ones, with information, day-to-day help, and emotional support every step of the way. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2012, there will be 226,870 new cases of invasive breast cancer and 39,510 deaths from breast cancer among women in the U.S. This October, the Society will be using National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to remind women about the importance of breast health.
In 2011, the American Cancer Society provided free information and services to 115,270 of the estimated 230,480 women diagnosed with breast cancer in the U.S. Through its local offices, national 24-hour phone line, and referrals from health care professionals, the Society provided these women with help, including information about breast cancer, referrals to programs in their community and to financial assistance, and transportation and lodging assistance. In fact, breast cancer is the top reason for calls to the American Cancer Society.
“The American Cancer Society is the most effective breast cancer-fighting organization in the world and has helped translate knowledge into action to help save lives,” said Otis W. Brawley, M.D., chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society. “Nearly three million breast cancer survivors will celebrate a birthday this year thanks in part to early detection and improved treatment.”
Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death in women, second only to lung cancer. The Society recommends women 40 and older to have a yearly mammogram and clinical breast exam. Also, the Society recommends that women ages 20 to 39 receive a clinical breast exam at least once every three years. The five-year survival rate is 99% for breast cancer that is diagnosed in the earliest stages.
The Society is currently funding more than 240 breast cancer grants totaling $88 million. The Society has spent more on breast cancer research than on any other cancer, and has played an important part in nearly every major breast cancer research breakthrough in recent history, including demonstrating that mammography is an effective screening test for breast cancer, the development of tamoxifen and herceptin, and knowledge that genetics, lack of exercise, overweight and obesity, and moderate drinking increase a person’s breast cancer risk.
The Society also offers newly diagnosed women and those living with breast cancer a variety of programs and services to help them in their breast cancer experience.
- The Reach To Recovery program helps newly diagnosed patients cope with their breast cancer experience. Reach To Recovery volunteers offer the unique understanding, support, and hope from the perspective of someone who has survived breast cancer.
- The Look Good Feel Better program helps breast cancer patients manage the physical side effects of treatment. Patients gain beauty techniques to help improve their self-esteem and quality of life, but also a sense of support, confidence, courage and community with other cancer patients in the program.
- The Hope Lodge program offers patients and their caregivers free lodging for those receiving treatment far from home.
- The Society offers free information to help make treatment decisions and access to its programs 24/7 through 1-800-227-2345 or cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society’s affiliate advocacy organization, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action NetworkSM (ACS CAN), continues to fight back against breast cancer by working to increase funding for the National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program (NBCCEDP) that provides low-income, uninsured and underinsured women access to mammograms and Pap tests.