Legislators approve October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Terry RogersHeadlines, Health, Milford Headline Story

Representative Valerie Longhurst, Francesca Vogel, Meridith Rothstein and Rubi Figuroa at Legislative hall

After hearing from Francesca Fogel, Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) Chief Executive Officer, Meridith Rothstein, DBCC Survivorship Specialist and Rubi Figuero, DBCC Bilingual Patient Navigator and Outreach Specialist, Delaware legislators approved a resolution making October Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The resolution was sponsored by Senator Kyle Gay and Representative Valerie Longhurst.

“Although October is Breast Cancer Month, breast health is important all year,” Fogel said. “We use the month of October to bring attention to the importance of early detection, including mammograms and self-breast examinations as well as treatment options. We also celebrate survivorship that month, sharing that there have been so many advances in treatment that more and more people can call themselves survivors.”

Rothstein, Vogel and Figuroa speak to Delaware legislators about Breast Cancer Awareness Month

DBCC also wants to educate the public that breast cancer does not only affect women. Both men and women are born with the same breast cells and tissue and, although male breasts do not produce milk, the tissue can still develop cancer. It is much rarer in men than women with less than one percent of all breast cancer cases occurring in men, but the mortality rate is higher as men are less likely to assume a lump on the breast is cancer and this may lead to them delaying treatment.

“As we are coming out of the pandemic, breast cancer awareness is more important than ever,” Fogel said. “Many people had to delay diagnostic testing, such as mammograms, during the pandemic. Some doctors and clinics are still struggling to fit in patients, not just due to the closure of medical facilities for several months but also staffing shortages impacting the medical field today. Some may still be reluctant to visit a healthcare facility due to fear of the COVID-19 virus, so we are hoping to provide more education to encourage them and ease that fear.”

Breast Cancer Awareness Month began in 1985 as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. The week-long event, kicked off by Betty Ford, herself a breast cancer survivor, was designed to educate women about breast cancer and early detection. Ford was diagnosed while her husband was President of the United States and became a spokeswoman for early detection. During the month of October, breast cancer survivors and those with breast cancer are asked to tell their stories. It is also used to raise funds for breast cancer awareness.

Charline Ganthier-Cine, Meridith Rothstein, Senator Kyle Gay, Francesca Vogel and Rubi Figuroa

The pink ribbon was first used by Estee Lauder cosmetics in 1992 to bring visual attention to the cause. The company handed out over one million of the ribbons, making the iconic pink ribbon a symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The NFL began affixing pink ribbons to their uniforms during October as well.

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