By the numbers, millions of Americans have been affected by breast cancer, whether as a patient or caregiver to someone suffering from the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, over 270,000 new cases of breast cancer have been diagnosed in 2019 alone.
The good news is that the rate of deaths associated with breast cancer has been going down over recent years. However, the number of deaths remains steady, as the population increases and more people enter middle and old age.
October has been designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness month, during which funds are raised and awareness about breast cancer and breast cancer research is spread. In order to keep the Cheshire community informed, Chesprocott Health District has taken the lead in trying to educate on ways to limit the chances of contracting the disease.
“It’s really important for everyone to know that breast cancer can affect everyone, man or woman,” said Kate Glendon, Chesprocott’s public health specialist. “It’s also incredibly important to know your status. I know it may be scary to book those screening appointments, but early detection is the key to survival.”
Glendon mentioned several ways in which individuals can lower their chances of contracting breast cancer, including: managing one’s weight, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and remaining physically active. “Women and men can help lower their risk of breast cancer by making healthy lifestyle changes,” affirmed Glendon.
The further help residents, Chesprocott will be hosting a Healthy Communities Coalition meeting regarding breast cancer risks and preventionon on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Elim Park Place, 140 Cook Hill Rd. The event is free and open to the public, and will begin at 9 a.m..
Dr. Niamey Pender Wilson, director of breast surgery research and quality for Hartford HealthCare Cancer Institute, will be in attendance as well, and will be available to answer any specialized or general breast cancer questions attendees may have. Dr. Wilson will also be leading an informational session on preventing and reducing the risks of breast cancer.
Connecticut also has a Connecticut Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program — comprehensive screening offered to medically underserved women. The primary objective of the program is to significantly increase the number of women who receive breast and cervical cancer screening, diagnostic and treatment referral services.
All services are offered free of charge through the Connecticut Department of Public Health's contracted health care providers located statewide.
If you would like to know more about the Healthy Communities Coalition meeting on breast cancer awareness, contact Chesprocott Health District at (203) 272-2761.