Our View: Proactive approach key to fighting breast cancer

Published: Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 5:30 a.m. CDT

The effort to fight breast cancer continues to get stronger. Prevention, early detection, advanced treatments – all of these factors are helping individuals defend themselves against a cancer that was once more devastating than it is today.

Earlier this week, the Kane County Chronicle published its annual breast cancer awareness edition. The edition included personal stories of women who have battled breast cancer, information about what to do after a breast cancer diagnosis, and photos from the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K in Aurora.

We shared the story of Britta McKenna, former director of Batavia MainStreet who has fought breast cancer and has since started the website Breast Cancer MyStory at www.breastcancermystory.org.

In addition, we interviewed Mike Baumgart – a firefighter/paramedic with the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District – who lost his mother, Jill, to breast cancer when he was a teenager. Baumgart has started a pink T-shirt initiative that helps raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

“My goal every year is to increase [funds] from last year,” Baumgart said of the shirt-selling effort. (Shirts can be ordered by calling 630-584-3473.)

It has taken the dedication of many to bring breast cancer awareness and treatment options to where they are today.

The American Cancer Society website, www.cancer.org, lists five ways to help fight breast cancer:

1. Volunteer your time – survivors, patients and others are invited to donate their time by educating the community and driving cancer patients to and from appointments, among other options.

2. Take part in research – patients can sign up to be part of clinical trials or ongoing research projects that seek to slow or prevent breast cancer.

3. Make your voice heard – contacting members of Congress or signing petitions to make sure women have access to breast-related health services are ways to fight breast cancer at the government level.

4. Participate in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer – funds from this American Cancer Society event go toward breast cancer research and provide information, services and access to mammograms for women who need them.

5. Take charge of your health – being active, eating healthy foods and limiting alcohol consumption can decrease one’s risk of developing breast cancer.

The movement toward a breast cancer-free world is mighty. With continued dedication, we hope a cure can be found.