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October is 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month' in Ceres
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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and it is for good reason. Breast cancer statistics indicate that one in eight women will have breast cancer during the course of their lifetime. Men can also get breast cancer - I personally know one male breast cancer survivor who had to go through all the medical treatments, including a mastectomy. When taking all forms of cancer into consideration, one in three people will experience some form of cancer in their lifetime. Skin cancer and breast cancer are among the most prevalent forms of cancer for women.

Breast cancer receives special attention this month because it affects so many people. Not only are the patients put through a very difficult experience, one that is lifelong, but loved ones and friends also have to deal with the emotional suffering and financial impacts. The survival rate is high owing to early detection medical screening and improved forms of treatment. Nevertheless, this disease impacts so many women that increasing awareness, prevention efforts, and improving the treatment of breast cancer is necessarily a very high priority for our nation.

The cause(s) of breast cancer are not entirely known or confirmed. There is anecdotal evidence that cancers are caused or prompted by environmental factors such as pollutants, chemicals, the foods we eat, and various lifestyle issues. There is also evidence that people with certain genetic traits may be more vulnerable to breast cancer. The problem is that the medical community and scientists do not have enough information to know how to prevent this cancer entirely, nor does the perfect treatment exist at this point. Much more research must be done to get us to the point where breast cancer can be stamped out.

Research for prevention and treatment is very costly. And in order to ensure that sufficient funding is made available, the public needs to be aware of the scope of the problem which then puts people in the position to generate private funding and use the political system to allocate tax dollars to deal with the breast cancer problem. At the same time, awareness is a major factor in prevention and timely medical interventions to deal with this disease. When the population fully recognizes and treats breast cancer as the serious public health issue that it is, more people will participate in timely medical screenings and will also react more quickly to receive the needed treatment.

In Ceres, along with most all other communities in this region, our city council, city employees and members of the community are making their concern about breast cancer quite clear. Pink is the defining color for the breast cancer awareness campaign. People everywhere are wearing pink ribbons, wrist bands, shirts, and other items to show their support. Ceres firefighters, for example, are wearing special pink breast cancer awareness t-shirts during the month of October to raise awareness and show their support. Our police officers are wearing pink ribbons on their uniforms, and the patrol cars will soon display pink ribbons as well. Community members are participating in the American Cancer Society 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in downtown Modesto on Sunday that begins at the Gallo Center for the Arts at 8 a.m. Ceres employees will have a team participating in the event and I encourage our citizens to join them. There are many more breast cancer awareness activities taking place throughout our communities during this month, and frankly, I have never before seen such a societal groundswell of public concern and support. People of all walks of life are standing united together in search of a solution to the problem and show support for all of the people struggling with this disease. It makes me proud.