Awareness key to cancer fight

Today’s edition of The Tribune features a story about 98-year-old Anne Wells of Brownstown, who learned she had breast cancer in June 2016.

Anne’s decision to share her story with our readers is important since October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and early diagnosis of the disease can help improve the chances of survival.

From 1986, when Schneck Medical Center first started collecting cancer data, until 2012, breast cancer held the top spot annually in terms of cancers diagnosed at Jackson County’s only hospital.

According to Schneck’s 2016 cancer report, breast cancer remains one of the most common cancers among American women, and it is expected that one in 12 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. That year, it was estimated 300,000 women would be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 would die from it.

There is hope, however. Breast cancer rates are decreasing and survival rates are improving because of the decreased use of hormone replacement therapy and early detection, Dr. Amanda Dick wrote in that report. Dick is Schneck’s cancer liaison physician.

Appropriately timed screening and administration of treatments help create good outcomes for those faced with this disease, she said.

Breast cancer strikes women — and men — across the board and doesn’t play favorites when it comes to economic factors, race and ethnic lines. It also touches the lives of family members and friends of those with the disease.

The same is true of every type of cancer, and that’s why The Tribune plans to publish additional stories in the coming weeks about people fighting some of the other types of the disease.

Lung/bronchus cancer has surpassed breast cancer in terms of diagnosed cases two of the past three years at Schneck. In 2015, there were 58 cases of lung/bronchus compared to 47 cases of breast cancer.

But it’s not a competition. The early discovery of any type of cancer makes treatment more successful — and thus survival — more likely.

If you’re looking for a way to support breast cancer awareness, don’t forget to attend the eighth annual HOPE Medora Goes Pink breast cancer awareness event Saturday.

At issue

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Our point

Breast cancer strikes women — and men — across the board and doesn’t play favorites in terms of economics, race or ethnic lines. Raising awareness of breast cancer and all other types of cancer can help victims discover the disease early improving the chances of survival.