October marks breast cancer awareness month; disease affects 1 in 8 women

ByKay Cesinger WLS logo
Sunday, October 2, 2022
Our Chicago Part 1: October marks breast cancer awareness month; disease affects 1 in 8 women
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It's October, which means Breast Cancer Awareness month has returned, and advocates are encouraging women to get screened for the disease.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Imagine yourself and seven other women in your life. Then, consider this: The American Cancer Society says that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer deaths in women.

Dr. Kathy Goss, a former breast cancer researcher and the current vice president for Regional Cancer Support at the American Cancer Society said that over the last two and a half years, many women have not gotten necessary screenings.

"We saw significant delays and gaps in screenings during the pandemic and even now more than 2 million women nationwide are behind on their screenings," Dr. Goss said. "So, we really need to get across the message that early detection saves lives."

Watch the second half of Our Chicago below

Just days before the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, another high-profile woman announced she had been treated for breast cancer, former "Today" show host, Katie Couric.

While there were a number of cases of cancer in Couric's family, no one had ever had breast cancer.

"It turns out that about 85% of the vast majority of women who develop breast cancer have no family history," Goss said. "So that really sends us a message that we need to be proactive with our health."

Jamie Currier is the cancer support strategic partnerships manager for the American Cancer Society. She's also a breast cancer survivor.

In Currier's case, there was a history of the disease.

"I believe my cancer journey started with my mom," Currier said. "She lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 33. I, at the time, was 11 years old."

Currier said she did breast self-exams, and at 29 years old, she found a pea sized lump right under the surface of her skin.

"Finding my cancer early is why my health outcomes were so positive," Currier said. "When I found the lump, I saw a doctor quickly. I underwent testing right away. And even though the lump was at surface level in one breast, it was discovered that I had many smaller tumors all over in each breast."

Coming up on Oct. 15, the public can help raise money to fund critical research at the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event.

You can find more information at Makingstrideswalk.org/chicagoil