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Features Health & Wellness October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Gloria Thun, who is a breast cancer survivor, made this teddy bear cake and also donated the teddy bear to go with the cake for whoever bought the cake. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago and was given the teddy bear as encouragement, and she felt that it was time to pass it on.Macon County commissioners unanimously voted to declare October Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Macon County. During October’s regularly scheduled board meeting of Macon County’s commissioners, Bonnie Peggs, Director of Marketing and Public Relations with Angel Medical Center presented commissioners with the proclamation which ultimately allows Macon County to join in the national effort surrounding the importance breast cancer awareness. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, and is the second leading cause of death in women (after lung cancer).

“Our goal is to eradicate death caused by breast cancer in Macon County,” said Peggs. “No one else needs to die from it, especially when it is treatable if found early enough — early detection is the key, which is what this month is about.”

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) Organization has grown since its inception as a week-long event in October of 1985. NBCAM began as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries, which is now part of AstraZeneca, maker of several anti-breast cancer drugs, with the intention of promoting mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer and although NBCAM's awareness initiative has evolved from being just a weeklong event, to an international month-long celebration, the mission has not changed. Although October is designated as NBCAM, the organization promotes breast cancer awareness and education all year.

Now the NBCAM organization is comprised of multiple national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working in partnership to build breast cancer awareness, share information and provide access to screening services.

According to Peggs, Macon County’s breast cancer rate is six percent higher than the rest of the state. According to the projected 2011 New Cancer Cases and Deaths reports which is produced by the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry, 45 new cases of breast cancer are anticipated in Macon County in 2011, comparable to 38 predicted cases in Jackson County. The New Cancer Cases and Deaths reports are based on cancer numbers from 2004-2008 invasive cancer incidence and 2005-2009 mortality rates.

An estimated eight deaths are anticipated in Macon County for 2011 due to breast cancer, compared to only six estimated in Jackson County. A state-wide projection of 8,507 new cases of breast cancer are anticipated by the end of the year, with a projected 1,350 deaths caused by breast cancer.

Angel Medical Center has used NBCAM to vamp up the breast cancer awareness initiative, and kicked off the “Think Pink” campaign on Oct. 3. All of the hospital’s employees joined the effort by wearing pink in support of NBCAM. Angel Medical Center's radiology department organized a fundraiser which raised $965—or six mammograms— through selling raffle tickets to “Think Pink” themed cakes donated by five local bakeries.

The hospital will hold a special Ladies Night Out (LNO) on Oct. 25 at 6:30, not only in recognition of NBCAM, but also to celebrate the second anniversary of LNO.

Ladies Night Out is a partnership between Macon County Public Health and Angel Medical Center to provide free monthly programs on a variety of health topics for women with an emphasis on the importance of regular health screenings. The Franklin Bi-Lo and Fatz of Franklin are corporate sponsors of the programs and provide snacks and door prizes each month. According to Peggs, the LNO program usually has between 65 and 80 women in attendance. Peggs noted that with the success of LNO, the program will begin to give mammograms to anyone who is underinsured/ uninsured.


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