Assemblywoman Solages: October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Take time to learn about the disease and how you can make a difference

Chances are you know someone who has suffered through a fight with breast cancer. It is a disease that knows no barriers and affects hundreds of thousands of Americans every year. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – a time to reaffirm our commitment to prevention and early detection and to honor the brave women and men who have fallen victim to, survived and been touched by this tragic disease.

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month was founded in 1985 to bring attention to the disease and effective methods of fighting and preventing it. Breast cancer is the second-highest cause of cancer death in women over the last 25 years. It is estimated that 234,580 new cases of breast cancer will be recorded throughout the country this year, 232,340 of which will be inflicted on women. In New York State alone, breast cancer is estimated to take the lives of 14,950 women in 2013.1

Early detection is a key factor in reducing the disease’s deadly effects. There is a 98 percent survival rate when breast cancer is caught early, at a localized stage.2 It’s imperative that women perform self-exams monthly and get annual mammograms, as well as clinical exams from their doctor. Adopting healthy habits, such as a well-rounded diet, regular exercise and limiting alcohol and tobacco use, can also decrease the risk of breast cancer.

The Assembly achieved a hard-won victory in the fight against breast cancer this past July when Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation I supported that will provide for the funding necessary to map breast cancer incidences throughout New York State (Ch. 106 of 2013). The Breast Cancer Research and Education Fund will help promote a greater understanding of the geographic variations in breast cancer incidence and will supply women with helpful knowledge of where breast cancer is occurring within their community.

Research has led to improvements in treatment and prevention, but that does not mean the battle is close to over. As a community, we can make our mark in the fight to aid breast cancer research, prevention and outreach. When 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives, we can’t sit back and hope for the best – we must be proactive.3 So this October, join me in participating in events in and around 22nd Assembly District to show our devotion to conquering breast cancer.

For information on cancer service programs in our area, visit the New York State Department of Health’s website at or call its cancer service hotline at 866-442-2262. As always, please contact my office at 516-599-2972 or if you have any questions or concerns concerning this or any other community issue.