It’s estimated more than 2,000 Iowa women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, while about 400 will die from it. Mike Lefler, a spokesman for the American Cancer Society, says October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and his agency is encouraging Iowa women to put their health first.
“Get your mammograms at age 40,” Lefler says. “Maintain a healthy lifestyle. We’re really big into nutrition and physical activity. Eat right and exercise five times a week for at least 30 minutes a day. All of these things will improve your risk factors for developing breast cancer.”
Lefler says one goal is to make sure women get the care they need once they’re diagnosed with breast cancer. He says they want women to take preventative steps, too. If you don’t know where to go to find that help, the charity can direct you. “The disparate populations maybe don’t have health insurance or are having trouble finding adequate health care or have trouble getting to and from treatment,” Lefler says.
“There are certainly programs that are available through the state or through patient services that the American Cancer Society can provide.” Only lung cancer causes more cancer deaths among Iowa women than breast cancer. Lefler says more than 2.5-million breast cancer survivors nationwide will celebrate a birthday this year thanks to early detection and improved treatment.
“We want women, and men alike, to celebrate more birthdays after a cancer diagnosis or not even be diagnosed with cancer,” he says. “If you hear the words ‘you have cancer,’ we’re going to be there through your cancer journey to make sure you’re getting every possible advantage in terms of treatment, in terms of patient services, in terms of support.”
Several breast cancer awareness events are planned across Iowa during the month. To learn more, call 800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.