Noelle Leavitt Riley: Honoring breast cancer awareness month | CraigDailyPress.com

Noelle Leavitt Riley: Honoring breast cancer awareness month

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Breast cancer is a sneaky disease that has touched, destroyed and inspired the lives of millions of women and families across the globe.

Nearly 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer were diagnosed last year in the United States alone, according to the American Cancer Society. Roughly 40,000 women in the U.S. were expected to die from the disease in 2013.

The cancer society highlights that "only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women."

Those are some astounding statistics, and I bet you'd be hard pressed to find someone who hasn't been affected by breast cancer.

I know it has impacted three important women in my life, and luckily, they were all treated before it became life threatening.

Two of my grandmothers and my aunt all were diagnosed, and each of them handled the news in a different way. My aunt, who lives in Boston, opted to have a double mastectomy to prevent future complications from the disease.

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All three women were well past age 60 when they were diagnosed.

Nearly 79 percent of new cases and 88 percent of deaths occur in women 50 years and older, according to the American Cancer Society's 2013-14 Breast Cancer Facts & Figures report.

Both of my grandmothers were able to live happy and healthy lives after they had mastectomies, too, so the silver lining was early detection that prevented fatal consequences.

The key to fighting the disease is early prevention, which is why the Craig Daily Press turned its Wednesday newspaper pink — to remind women and men to do breast self-exams, visit your doctor to have preventative screenings and lend a friendly reminder to those you love to do monthly self-exams.

Luckily, Moffat County has several outlets that help detect, prevent and fight breast cancer. The Memorial Hospital has wonderful doctors and programs to help treat, diagnose and prevent breast cancer. To honor those who have fought the good fight, TMH will host a Breast Cancer Survivor Luncheon at noon Oct. 17 at the hospital.

Additionally, the Daily Press has partnered with TMH, Colorado Northwestern Community College and the TMH Foundation for a Glow Run/Walk 5K on Oct. 18. Goodie bags, glow bracelets and more are provided with registration, with fees between $10 and $25 and commemorative shirts available for $10. The event is aimed at raising awareness for cancer and funds for the Moffat County Cancer Society and digital mammography services at TMH. For more information, call 970-826-3109

Additionally, the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association offers free breast exams to those with limited or no health insurance. For more information about the VNA and its work to help fight breast cancer, call 970-871-7666.

Noelle Leavitt Riley is the managing editor of the Craig Daily Press. Reach her at 970-875-1790 or nriley@CraigDailyPress.com.