As Breast Cancer Awareness Month winds down, I must admit I’ve learned a lot more about women’s breasts in the past month than I ever thought I would. Nurse Laura Reyka from WellSpan Gettysburg Hospital was a frequent guest on my show years ago. She was head of Women’s Services at the hospital and was a regular on my radio show talking about the many women’s programs the hospital offered. October was always special because I knew she would come on and talk about the importance of mammograms and early detection of possible breast cancer. About 7 or 8 years ago, we had just finished the show and she gave me a small oval bumper sticker that said “Save the Ta-Tas” layered on a pink ribbon with a white background. I never in my life put a bumper sticker on my car, but for some reason this time I did. Laura has moved to California, but that sticker is still proudly displayed on the rear bumper of my Jeep.
Breast cancer in women and men can be a killer if left untreated, and the statistics don’t lie. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States. In 2019, an estimated 268,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in women in the US, along with about 63,000 cases of non-invasive breast cancer. About 2,600 cases of invasive breast cancer will be detected in men. A man’s lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer is 1 in 883. Sadly, more than 41,700 women will die from breast cancer in 2019. Because of the effectiveness of the thousands of mammograms in Adams County, approximately 70 women in the county were diagnosed with cancer and began treatment in the past year.