More than awareness

Published 11:40 am Monday, October 23, 2023

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. One in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. This year, nearly 300,000 women and just under 3,000 men will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. If identified early, the relative 5-year survival rate post such a diagnosis is 99%. 

These are stats that should both hit you hard and encourage you. It is hard to imagine that when I sit in a room with seven other women, one of us will statistically receive a life-changing breast cancer diagnosis. Seeing the number that translates to nationally reminds me of the number of women and families impacted annually by breast cancer. The numbers also remind me that men are affected by breast cancer, and we don’t talk enough about that. The part that encourages me is that if we work to make Breast Cancer Awareness Month about MORE than awareness, we can see 5-year survival rates that are nearly 100 percent! That means preventative screenings work and are a worthwhile effort! It saves lives!

Not long ago, I shared information about St Luke’s High-Risk Breast Cancer Clinic for individuals at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Some of you have responded, and you have been screened and taken advantage of meeting with our oncology team about preventative measures when you had a high Gail score. Research shows that those who engage in the recommended steps reduce their risk of breast cancer by as much as 50%! I hate to sound like a broken record, but prevention is key! 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

St. Luke’s overall is working toward identifying your risk factors earlier to keep you healthier. That is our goal. We certainly want to be here to treat disease processes when needed, but our greatest desire is to help maintain your health. 

If you are due for a mammogram (or any other screenings), please move from awareness to action. Move to prevention. Additional preventative screenings include colonoscopy, coronary calcium screening, prostate exam, annual physical, bone density test and low-dose lung cancer screening.

National Lung Cancer Screening Day is Saturday, November 11, 2023. St. Luke’s will be hosting a lung cancer screening for candidates who are aged 50 to 77, are current or former smokers within the last fifteen years, and have smoked twenty pack-years or more

For more information, visit StLukesNC.org/lung-screen.

We are here for you when you are unhealthy but want to move you to a place of more life, joy, and health. Please help us keep you healthier by having your screenings! 

If you have a healthcare topic of interest or want to learn more about St. Luke’s Hospital, send me a note at Michelle.Fortune@slhnc.org. Also, please follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or visit our website at StLukesNC.org.