This month the focus is on breast cancer


Nassau County has one of the nation’s highest rates of breast cancer, and more than 1,200 women in the county were diagnosed with the disease from 2004 to 2008, according to the State Department of Health’s New York State Cancer Registry. This deadly disease accounts for 14.9 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the county.

Despite our high breast cancer rates, fewer than 18 percent of those 1,200 women died during that period. Early diagnosis through mammography is one reason, according to the National Cancer Institute, that more women can call themselves survivors, and why the Herald urges all women to make an appointment with their doctor today.

Any time is the right time to sign up for a yearly mammogram, but October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is particularly appropriate. This month, service organizations, medical professionals and government agencies are disseminating information to the public and encouraging research advancements to find a cure.

As experts continue to collaborate and survivors raise funds for the fight against the disease, women continue to be diagnosed with it every day. Whether you or someone you care about just received this distressing medical news or have battled the disease for years, there are free resources available on Long Island.

For those without insurance, the Breast Center at Nassau University Medical Center offers free mammography screenings thanks to a state grant. Call (516) 572-3300 to see if you qualify.

For emotional support, connect with survivors who can relate to what you are going through on the Adelphi Breast Cancer Hotline, (800) 877-8077, between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. For support groups, yoga classes, group discussions and additional resources, contact 1 in 9: the Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition, at the Hewlett House, by calling (516) 374-3190 or emailing info@1in9.org.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Talk to your doctor today, and schedule a screening.