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By Mark A. Goldberg
| October 15, 2019
This article is a part of BG BrandLab’s Breast Cancer Special Report, assessing the progress we’ve made in the battle against breast cancer and the barriers that we still need to overcome.
Over the last several decades, we have made incredible progress in the fight against breast cancer. Thanks to advances in early detection and treatment, the breast cancer death rate decreased by 40% between 1989 and 2016, contributing to more than 348,800 lives saved. There are more than 3.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today, and that number keeps going up.
Yet despite this progress, more than 268,000 women will be diagnosed in the United States this year. That number could fill Gillette Stadium–four times. As we recognize National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we celebrate the progress we are making while also redoubling our efforts.
As you will see in this special section, there is much we know about how to detect and treat breast cancer, as well as how to support those facing the disease. We continue to be inspired by survivors’ stories of hope and resilience. But there is still much work to be done.
Research. The American Cancer Society is fueling cancer research breakthroughs by investing millions of dollars each year, including $67 million in breast cancer specific research–$12 million in Massachusetts alone. These grants focus on prevention, better methods of detection, survivorship, metastatic disease, and tough-to-treat “triple-negative” breast cancers.
Access. With support from the National Football League, the Patriots Charitable Foundation, and the Boston community, the Society funds CHANGE grants that empower women and improve access to health care. We are currently working with Codman Square Health Center to ensure women in the community not only get screened for breast cancer but also follow up on their tests results. In recent years, we successfully worked hand-in-hand on similar grants with community-based systems including the South End Community Health Center, the Community Health Center of Franklin County, and Hilltown Community Health Centers.
Support. We provide direct support for those facing a diagnosis today, with services like our 24-hour helpline at 800.227.2345 and live chat on cancer.org. Our patient transportation program provided nearly 480,000 rides to treatment in the US last year, with nearly 11,700 of those rides delivered right here in the Bay State. In 2018, the Society provided more than 477,000 nights of free lodging across the US, including 25,000 nights at the Hope Lodge here in Boston. Our staff and volunteers are at work with 20 local hospitals. No one needs to walk this journey alone.
This much is clear: When we unite at our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk and throughout the year, we maximize our impact. We are incredibly grateful for the support of our local volunteers and the generosity of the Greater Boston community. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Mark A. Goldberg, MD
Chairman, Eastern New England Area Board, American Cancer Society
Member, national Board of Directors, American Cancer Society
Sponsored by Studio/B
The realities of cancer: Real patients share their stories
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A guide for early detection and risk factors: What all women need to know
Disparities in care: Is breast cancer treatment black and white?
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