October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as it is a problem that requires the attention and concern of all people.
Statistics suggest that one in eight women will have breast cancer during the course of their lives. Skin cancer and breast cancer are among the most prevalent forms of cancer for women. Men can also be afflicted with breast cancer - I know of two men who have been fighting the disease.
The consequences of cancer affect not only the patient, but have serious, devastating impacts on the patient's family members, friends and co-workers. With timely diagnosis and treatment, breast cancer patients have an excellent chance for survival and a high quality life once the medical treatments are completed. Medical science continues make discoveries to increase cancer detection capabilities and improve treatment, but at the same time, it takes money and resources for this research to take place.
In Ceres, our firefighters have been taking the issue of breast cancer very seriously. In 2012, Ceres firefighters showed leadership and concern by wearing pink cancer awareness T-shirts during October. They made a breast cancer awareness presentation to the City Council and collaborated with community groups to help get out the word and generate donations for breast cancer research. Ceres Police officers, our City Council, and most all other city employees participated with the initiative by wearing pink ribbons, displaying ribbons on their assigned vehicles, or participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. It was real team effort that demonstrated compassion for cancer patients and their families. I feel fortunate to be affiliated with such an caring group of people.
This month, Ceres firefighters have built upon efforts by leading the community information campaign. They have arranged for a fundraiser on Oct. 21 at La Morenita where they will be the servers and 20 percent of sales will be donated to the Bill & Elsie Ahlem Cancer Endowment when customers present the fundraiser flyer, which can be found on the Ceres Police Department Facebook page and city homepage (http://www.ci.ceres.ca.us). This year, the firefighters will also be teaming up with the Ceres Unified School District and the Ceres Chamber of Commerce in competitions that will emphasize participation and creativity in calling attention to breast cancer. These competitions will conclude with the winners receiving awards for their outstanding performance.
There are many more breast cancer awareness activities taking place 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 in search of a solution to the problem and show support for those touched by this disease.
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 factors. 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 yet.
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 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 treat it early to increase their chances of beating it.