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Breast cancer to kill 1,400 in NJ this year — but there’s hope

It is October — so you’ve surely blitz of pink in all walks of life to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Breast cancer
Hands joined in circle holding breast cancer struggle symbol (Photo credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd, ThinkStock)

There is much progress being made in the fight, but the disease remains stunningly deadly.

First, the bad: Nearly 235,000 women and men nationally will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year  with more than 40,000 succumbing to the disease.

Here in New Jersey, the latest figures project around 7,000 cases and close to 1,400 deaths.

Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women.
But the survival rate is going up and the mortality rate is falling.

“We have more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today,” said Tina Jacobs, Director of Community Health Komen North Jersey.

The mortality rate, in fact, is down 34 percent since 1990.

She said there are several factors that are powering those positive trends, in addition to increased education and awareness.

“Because we have much better screening techniques and cancers are being found in earliest stages,” Jacobs said.

The pictures on new 3D mammography machines are clearer and they are able to see more. The Komen organization recommends that all women begin screening at age 40, unless they have a family history of the disease.

While Jacobs said it is great to see the flood of pink and increased October awareness for breast cancer, she reminds us that the disease affects people beyond just this month.

“Pink is more than a color, breast cancer is a 365 day-a-year disease,” Jacobs said. “We’ve come a very long way, but we still have quite a ways to go.”

Komen North Jersey provides a list of several local resources for those fighting breast cancer. It also offers guidance on recognizing warning signs. More information is at KomenNorthJersey.com.

Its central Jersey counterpart offers information on financial assistance, heallthcare facilities, social and emotional support, and more at komencsnj.org.

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