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Breast cancer deaths are on the decline

POSTED October 21, 2009 12:11 a.m.
For the past 19 years, breast cancer death rates have been decreasing by two percent every single year since 1990, according to the American Cancer Society.     
“Breast cancer remains a major fear for women living in the U.S. and a major cause of cancer death, but it is important to note that a woman’s chances of dying from breast cancer have now been dropping for more than a decade,” said Otis W. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.  
The decrease in deaths for women with breast cancer is due to the doctor’s findings of what increases the risks of getting breast cancer, according to cancer society. Factors associated with an increased risk of breast cancer include postmenopausal obesity, menopausal hormone use, physical inactivity, and alcohol consumption of two or more drinks per day.
The increased survival rate for the year 2009 shows that 15,000 breast cancer deaths have been avoided, said John R. Seffrin, chief executive officer of the American Cancer Society. Since 1990, the decrease of deaths of two percent a year add up to 130,000 women who are now breast cancer survivors instead of victims of the cancer.  
“While there is much to celebrate in the fight against cancer, this report is also a strong reminder that far too many women still die of breast cancer and of the work yet to be done,” said Elizabeth Terry T.H. Fontham, national volunteer president for the American Cancer Society.
To keep the increase of survivors going, early detection and staying physically healthy are the key to get a head start on battling this cancer, according to the cancer society. With no cure for breast cancer and early detection being the only way to put boxing gloves on to knock the cancer out of the ring, the number of women who get mammograms is decreasing.  
The percentage of women aged 40 years and older who report having had a mammogram has dropped, according to the American Cancer Society. There are 51.2 percent of women 40 or older who have had a mammogram within the past year, according to survey data.  
To help prevent breast cancer the American Cancer Society recommends getting a yearly mammogram, eating a healthy diet to help control weight, getting regular physical activity, limiting alcohol in-take and paying attention to your breasts and check for any changes in them.  
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015. 
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