October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
If that seems wrong, it’s probably because you live in or around New Britain, where we mourn those who have lost their lives to this terrible disease and celebrate victories against it in May when the Connecticut Breast Health Initiative hosts the CT Race in the Park on the Saturday before Mother’s Day.
But the fight is important enough to talk about year-round - especially when there’s good news.
According to the American Cancer Society, death rates from breast cancer in the United States have dropped 39 percent between 1989 and 2015. This translates to 322,600 deaths avoided during those 26 years, though it remains the most common cancer among women in the United States, after skin cancer.
By the end of 2017, an estimated 252,710 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and an estimated 40,610 women will die from it.
That’s why efforts like this, which call attention to ways we can protect ourselves, are important. We know that early detection and regular mammograms are the first step in fighting the disease - and we know that they are most effective when they are done regularly, especially as we get older. Breast cancer risk generally increases with age. About 8 of every 10 new breast cancer cases and almost 9 of every 10 breast cancer deaths are in women 50 years old and older.
Because this is so important, we are calling your attention to Breast Cancer Awareness Month, though the nearest American Cancer Society-sponsored event takes place in Hartford, on Oct. 29 in Bushnell Park. As we see it, any and all reminders help us to do the right thing and get checked.
And, by the way, while it’s rare, men can get breast cancer, too.