Pink is a prevalent color around our communities this time of year — it serves as a reminder that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

One in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime, according to medical experts, and the most significant risk factors for breast cancer are gender — being a woman — and growing older. According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in women, behind only lung cancer.

Breast cancer remains a killer of women, but, as always, early detection and treatment remain the best defense in fighting the disease.

The proof is in the numbers — breast cancer death rates have decreased steadily since 1989 with an overall decline of 43 percent through 2020, the ACS reports.

When detected early, breast cancer has a five-year survival rate of 91% for all stages combined. For localized cancers, that number is 99%.

However, African-American women are most likely to be diagnosed at a late stage, resulting in a higher rate of death for Black women — with only an 82% five-year survival rate, according to Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Mammograms are safe and the most effective screening tool used to find breast cancer, especially at the earlier stages, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

We encourage all women in the community to examine their breasts, schedule a clinical breast examination and a mammogram.

Make the appointment. The only thing you have to lose is your life.

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