OUR VIEW: Being vigilant in going for screenings can save lives

With Breast Cancer Awareness Month coming up in October, it is a reminder to not only be vigilant with screening but to continue to dialogue and promote education as well.

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, breast cancer will affect one in eight Canadian women during their lifetime.

According to the latest stats, it is estimated that 26,000 women and 230 men in Canada will be diagnosed with breast cancer and nearly 5,000 women and 43 men will die from the disease in 2017.

In Canada, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 87 per cent.

Breast cancer continues to be the most common cancer diagnosis in Canadian women with one in four cancers diagnosed being breast cancer, representing 26 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers in women.

“Early detection is so important with cancer,” says Dr. Francois Belanger, AHS vice president, Quality and chief medical officer. “The chance of dying from breast cancer is reduced by 30 per cent if detected early, and it is much easier to treat if it is localized to the breast and has not spread to other areas. Screening helps with this detection significantly.”

According to the Canadian Breast Cancer web site, fewer Canadian women are dying from breast cancer today than in the past.

“Breast cancer deaths have decreased by 44 per cent since the peak in 1987 due to earlier detection through regular mammography screening, advances in screening technology and improved treatments. This is based on the age standardized mortality rates (ASMR) which has declined from 41.7 deaths per 100,000 in 1987 to a projected rate of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 in 2016, slightly down from 23.8 in 2015.

This points to not only early detection and raised awareness and education, but to improved treatment technology as well.

Most of us have been touched by cancer in one way or another so it is important to continue to raise awareness for the cause.

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