It is now over 14 years since I lost my dear sister, my mentor and my friend to breast cancer. Terry was just 35 years old when this terrible disease took her life. Unfortunately, my family is all too familiar with breast cancer as almost everyone in the family has been diagnosed with the disease—my two aunts (twice), my father (twice), my mother and me. This is why I fight.
Too many women (and men) are impacted by the disease. Some can call themselves “survivors”— others, like my sister Terry, cannot. In Oregon alone, 53 women each week will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 10 will die. This is why I fight.
Some women live in rural areas with little or no access to care, others do not have healthcare, cannot afford the important treatments necessary to live and some are making choices that no one should have to make. Where you live should not matter IF you live. This is why I fight.
I currently serve as the board president for the Oregon and SW Washington affiliate board of directors and each year we raise money aimed at saving lives and ending breast cancer forever.
Recently, Komen Oregon advocated for Senate Bill 433, which was sponsored by Senator Diane Rosenbaum and signed by Governor Kitzhaber on August 5th. Because of the passage of that bill, women who are diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer will have access to life-saving treatments they need and deserve. Before the bill, if women were diagnosed outside of the Oregon Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (OBCCP) they were refused treatment. This is why I fight.
Unfortunately, we still find women who don’t understand their risks, believe old and outdated myths, or are simply too frightened to seek information. But if only they would consider these facts: When breast cancer is detected early, the five-year survival rate is over 98%, and when diagnosed late, that rate drops to 26%. Too many women are putting off their yearly mammograms even if they have the means to be proactive about their health. This is why I fight.
It’s clear that Komen’s work has made a difference for women and men with breast cancer. Mortality rates from breast cancer are down 31 percent in 20 years; five-year survival rates from early-stage cancers are 98 percent, versus 74 percent when we started. Women are benefiting from more personalized treatments for this disease.
Please join me in supporting Komen for the Cure or other organizations to accelerate the progress—to join me in the fight, until no one fears a diagnosis of breast cancer.
by Marta Monetti