For nearly four decades now, the country has recognized October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is a time annually devoted to educating everyone about breast cancer — including metastatic breast cancer (MBC) — and the importance of early detection and access to timely, high-quality care.
No matter who you are or where you live, breast cancer may touch your life. It’s necessary to understand the warning signs of breast cancer, your risk of breast cancer and what’s normal for you so you can take action if there are any changes in your breasts or underarm areas.
Since 1989, Susan G. Komen has helped drive down mortality rates from breast cancer thanks to our focus on early detection and improvements in treatment. However, that progress may be in jeopardy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people delayed their regular breast cancer screening. The pandemic disrupted treatment and research progress.
And more progress is still needed. Through research, growing knowledge about breast cancer has led to new therapies and targeted treatments that improved outcomes for many people. It is research that brings hope to people facing this disease, especially those living with MBC. We need to ensure more treatment options are available for all people facing breast cancer, especially when treatments stop working.
The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the inequities in breast cancer treatments for under-resourced communities across the country, as well as the inequity in treatment between Black and white women. Black women in the U.S. are about 40% more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
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