Each October the U.S. Virgin Islands joins the nation in observing Breast Cancer Awareness Month to get people talking about this devastating disease and to boost fundraising efforts for life-saving research and for life-changing support to survivors and their families.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women in the United States. The National Cancer Institute projects that one in every eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. It is estimated that almost 270,000 will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2019. Men also face the risk of breast cancer and approximately 2,600 new cases are expected by the end of 2019.
First lady Yolanda Bryan is urging the public to learn more about breast cancer, it’s prevention and treatment. Women and men should perform monthly breast self-examination and immediately see a health care provider about anything that seems suspicious.
The recommended guidelines are that women over 40 years of age should schedule an annual mammogram. Women should check with their health care provider about earlier screenings if they feel they are at risk for breast cancer. Despite many years of research, there is still not enough knowledge about what causes breast cancer.
“Screening and early detection can save lives,” said the first lady. “For those who are under insured, I encourage them to take advantage of free mammogram screenings offered throughout the year by our local breast cancer organizations. And please, don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. You need to know.”
The first lady is also encouraging families to make healthy food choices, to exercise regularly and to take time to reduce the stressors in their lives. “A healthy lifestyle has been a priority for my family, and I urge you to do the same for you and your family,” she said.
For more information about breast cancer visit the National Breast Cancer Foundation website at www.nationalbreastcancer.org or the American Cancer Society (ACS) at www.cancer.org or call the ACS at 1-800-227-2345.
For more information about local support groups, visit the Yvonne Ashley Galiber (YAG) Foundation website at www.yagfoundation.org or call 332-9115 or Cancer Support Virgin Islands at www.cancersupportvi.com.