Breast Cancer Awareness Month Reminds us How Far We’ve Come and Where We’re Headed
Just a few decades ago, little was known about breast cancer. It was a rarely talked about disease. Today, breast cancer is in the news almost daily, and much of what we read and hear involves breakthroughs in early detection, new drug therapies and the latest treatment techniques.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of researchers, scientists, doctors, pharmacologists, and other healthcare providers, we have made significant progress in terms of what we know about breast cancer, its diagnosis, its treatment and most importantly, its prevention. We have made – and continue to make – dramatic advances that save lives.
While the progress we have made is commendable, we still have a long way to go. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, except for skin cancers. This year, 266,120 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 40,920 women will lose their lives to the disease. While these statistics are staggering, there is a positive trend to report. Death rates from breast cancer have begun to decline, likely because of earlier detection through screening and improved treatment. That’s why increasing breast cancer awareness is so important.
October has become synonymous with breast cancer awareness thanks to the designation as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Since 1985, when the first organized effort to bring widespread attention to breast cancer occurred, patients, survivors, health care professionals and others strive to educate women about breast cancer and encourage them to follow the recommended guidelines for screening. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends:
- Women have a mammogram every one to two years beginning at age 40.
- A clinical breast exam should be done every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older.
- Women should also know how their breasts normally feel and report any change promptly to their healthcare providers.
- Women with family history, genetic tendency or past breast cancer should speak with their doctor about starting mammography screening earlier, having additional tests, having more frequent exams.
Encouraging women to be screened regularly and consistently for breast cancer is a critical step in helping decrease death rates even further. Another important goal is increasing our knowledge of breast cancer through extensive laboratory research and detailed clinical trials. This scientific data will help us better understand what works, how it works and how to make it work better.
At OHC, research is a key component of our mission, and our doctors and research team participate in a number of important clinical trials. Through our affiliation with The US Oncology Network, OHC has given our patients access to the newest, most promising cancer treatments. This research not only helps further knowledge about cancer, but it also brings the latest treatments directly to patients in our community.
OHC currently has four open clinical trials, one of which includes men with breast cancer, that is studying the efficacy of seviteronel. Seviteronel is an experimental cancer medication which is under development by Viamet Pharmaceuticals and Innocrin Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of prostate cancer and breast cancer. It’s an inhibitor that works by inhibiting the production of androgens and estrogens in the body. Seviteronel is in phase II clinical trials for both prostate cancer and breast cancer and, thanks to initial results, last year it was designated fast track status by the United States Food and Drug Administration for breast cancer.
Clinical research is always exciting because it gets us one step closer to beating breast cancer, really all cancer. Still, as we continue our work to find even better treatments for breast cancer, we hope all women will do their part by performing regular breast self-exams, seeing their doctors for clinical exams, and having regular mammograms.
OHC (Oncology Hematology Care) has been fighting cancer on the front lines for more than three decades. We are the region’s leading experts in the treatment of nearly every form of adult cancer and complex blood disorder. OHC offers the latest medical, gynecologic and radiation therapy, and is always seeking better treatment options through participation in clinical trials. OHC is certified by the American Society for Clinical Oncology in the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program, is an accredited Oncology Medical Home, and is one of only 179 practices nationally to be accepted into the Medicare Oncology Initiative. At its heart, our approach to cancer care is simple – to surround you with everything you need so you can focus on what matters most: beating cancer. For more information about services and careers at OHC, call 1-888-649-4800 or visit ohcare.com.