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6 reasons to celebrate breast cancer awareness month

On average, about 75 Canadians will be diagnosed with breast cancer every single day. But thanks to supporters like you, incredible progress is being made in breast cancer research and that’s something to celebrate! Your generosity is helping Canadians diagnosed with breast cancer live longer and fuller lives.

Take a look at some reasons why you should be celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

1. The female breast cancer death rate has dropped by nearly half

It’s true – 1 in 8 women is expected to be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. The number may be startling, but the good news is that more Canadians being diagnosed with breast cancer are receiving a better prognosis.

Since the female breast cancer death rate peaked in 1986, it has dropped by an estimated 48%. With increased awareness surrounding the importance of a mammography and better screening practices, more Canadians with breast cancer are being diagnosed earlier – often before any symptoms develop. This means the chances of successful treatment are better. Progress in cancer research has also helped improve treatment and management options for individuals living with breast cancer.

A woman wearing a pink long-sleeve shirt smiling at the camera

2. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer

A Canadian Cancer Society-funded study has found that about 28% of breast cancer cases in women can be prevented through healthy living and policies that protect the health of Canadians. Some key ways to reduce breast cancer risk are living smoke-free, being active, sitting less, having a healthy body weight, limiting alcohol and eating well. The study also found that about 7,000 breast cancer cases could have been prevented in 2015!
Two men jogging with each other

3. Some women can be spared the toxic effects of chemotherapy

We’re always striving to learn more about cancer. Thanks to our supporters, Canadian Cancer Society researchers receive the funds they need in order to test and find new ways to prevent, detect, treat and manage breast cancer.

With your help, a clinical trial funded in part by the Canadian Cancer Society found that most women with early-stage breast cancer do not need chemotherapy in addition to hormone therapy. This means that these women will be spared from the toxic side effects that can come with chemotherapy such as nausea, vomiting and severe fatigue. Best of all, this will not affect their chances of staying cancer-free.

Three female friends sitting together and smiling

4. More treatment options for those living with metastatic breast cancer

Metastatic or stage 4 breast cancer is breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body. Although less than 5% of women are diagnosed at stage 4, 20-30% of women who are initially diagnosed with earlier stage breast cancer will go on to develop metastatic breast cancer. And with the majority of deaths related to breast cancer caused by cancer that has spread, there’s an urgent need for innovative new treatments to target this disease.

In collaboration with Stand Up To Cancer Canada (SU2C Canada) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), clinical trials are underway to find new ways of treating metastatic breast cancer. By developing new treatment options, this project aims to stop cancer cells from becoming aggressive and spreading to other organs – helping those living with metastatic breast cancer live longer and have a better quality of life.

A group of women wearing pink with the arms around each other’s shoulder

5. Support programs are helping Canadians live their lives fully

Every person’s breast cancer journey is different, that’s why we offer a wide-range of programs and services to help those affected by cancer.

For those facing a cancer diagnosis or those wanting to learn more about breast cancer, our toll-free helpline provides information to help people learn more about cancer and find local support. Or for those looking to share their experience with someone who’s been there – our Peer Match Program will connect you with trained peer support volunteers who offer encouragement and share different ideas of coping – all from their unique perspective as someone who has been through a cancer journey themselves. And for those looking to share their experiences, our online community connects people affected by cancer with a community of support, so no matter where you are, you can connect with others online and know that you’re not alone.

A man smiling while on the phone

6. 57 communities are coming together to make breast cancer beatable

Our events like the Canadian Cancer Society CIBC Run for the Cure bring together like-minded individuals, passionate about making a difference and changing the future of breast cancer. These events help unite a collective of Canadians who are a force-for-life in the face of breast cancer to show that no one is alone in their breast cancer journey.

This year’s event took place on Sunday, October 6 and brought thousands of people together from 57 communities across Canada to make breast cancer beatable. Funds raised supports our breast cancer research, compassionate support services, trusted cancer information and advocacy on behalf of all Canadians. And it’s because of funds raised through events like the CIBC Run for the Cure, we know more about breast cancer than ever before.

A young woman wearing a CIBC Run for the Cure t-shirt with her fist up in the air

Although significant progress has been made over the years, there’s still more work to be done. Breast cancer continues to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related death among Canadian women.

With an estimate of about 27,000 new breast cancer cases this year, we need your help more than ever. With your support, we can continue to invest in groundbreaking cancer research as well as services and programs that ensure Canadians affected by breast cancer get the support they need to live their lives as fully as possible.