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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Date: October 1, 2014

Ladies and Gentlemen:

With the exception of some skin cancer, breast cancer in the United States is the most common cancer in women. Regardless of your race or ethnicity, statistics report that 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer during their lifetime. It is also the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women, the second most common cause of death from cancer among Caucasians, African Americans, Asian/Pacific Islanders, American Indians and Alaska Native women. And….it's not just limited to women; men, too, are getting breast cancer at an alarming rate. 

In 1985, October became National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) to help promote mammography as the most effective weapon against breast cancer.  Within the last 29 years, awareness of breast cancer has increased significantly. However, people still overlook the steps to help prevent the disease in its early stages.  The goal of NBCAM is to bring attention to the disease, emphasize the importance of prevention and to raise funds for research to find a cure. 

In a profession where almost three quarters of our workforce are women, it is extremely important for our Members to understand how important early detection and education can be for survival.  Research has shown that the best prevention is mammography screening along with clinical breast exams and monthly self-examination.  Our Contract language in Section 33 provides for mammograms as preventative care. We encourage you to take time out this month and take care of yourself and those women and men in your life close to you. Schedule an exam for yourself, your sister, your mother, your husband or go with a friend you love; accompany them for a mammogram. 

With the statistics being 1 in 8, almost all of us know someone who has dealt with this devastating disease. This gives us a greater understanding of why supporting breast cancer awareness month is so important.  Our website has information about valuable foundations such as Breast Cancer Network of Strength or the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation as well as some information to help fund mammograms for those in need. 

Take some time to consider what efforts you can lend to your loved ones and those in need.  Regardless of whether you contribute financially, with your time, or by helping raise awareness, you become part of something much larger than any of us can accomplish alone.  It’s time to help those you love; this disease must be eradicated!

In Solidarity,

Ken Diaz
United Master Executive Council

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