As the United States marks Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, it is reassuring to think that modern medicine is making major strides forward in the fight against the disease.
And, indeed, that is the case.
From the 1940s until the 1980s, the number of new cases of breast cancer rose by about 1 percent per year — most likely due to a big increase in the amount of mammography screening.
But as better screening and detection came on to the scene, the level of new cases fell away in the 1990s and continued to do so in the early years of this century.
Researchers believe that is because of reduced use of post-menopausal hormones in women, which were found to bring an increased risk of breast cancer.
And, as Metro reports constantly, America’s medical community is at the forefront of the search for new treatments and, hopefully, a cure for the disease.
Yet there is a sobering figure to consider.
In 2011, despite all the advances, it is estimated that there will be more than 230,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer among American women — and more than 2,100 in American men.
An estimated 39,000 American women will die this year from the disease in addition to 450 men, according to U.S. Department of Health figures.
So, the fight goes on.
The month of October will see dozens of events across the country — including many right here in New York City — aimed at raising awareness of, and raising money for research into, breast cancer.