This October, perhaps prevention matters more than anything else

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Each October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month creates a space for a conversation around the pervasiveness of breast cancer, and a special emphasis is often put on early detection, improving treatment and finding a cure.

Sadly, we are all too aware of this disease and its devastating impact. Anyone touched by breast cancer – whether you’ve been diagnosed or have supported a family member or friend through their diagnosis – wants to know why and what’s caused it.

As you now know, no more than 1 in 10 women with breast cancer has a genetic history of the disease, and mounting scientific evidence links the high rates to toxic chemicals and radiation exposure in our everyday environment. 

We’re at a turning point in this national conversation. As the link between environmental exposures and disease becomes higher profile, we’re hearing more and more women – and men – making the connection between their diagnosis and possible exposures during critical points in their life.

Most recently, 17 men have come forward about their breast cancer. What’s their connection?  Living on the base of Camp Lejeune in North Carolina where the drinking water had been heavily contaminated with benzene; trichloroethylene, an industrial degreaser; and dry cleaning solvent perchloroethylene – chemicals with a link to breast cancer.

At a time when virtually everyone in America has been touched by this disease, perhaps working toward prevention matters more than anything else.

During Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re asking for your help in spreading the word about the environmental causes of breast cancer, empowering those around you to learn more about the disease and make simple changes to reduce their risk, and taking action to call for good public policies that work to stop this disease before it starts.
And, we’ve made it easy to do. In October, you can:

• Spread the word that prevention matters. Sign-up to be a media advocate during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October (or anytime) by writing letters-to-the-editor or submitting comments to news stories or blogs about breast cancer that don’t talk about environmental exposures or primary prevention.

• Read 20 tips for breast cancer prevention, beginning October 1, on the Breast Cancer Fund's Facebook page! Dr. Janet Gray, editor of the Breast Cancer Fund’s 2008 State of the Evidence: The Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment report, will be contributing 20 tips on lowering your risk of breast cancer to the The Daily Green blog. We will be reposting a tip a day throughout the month.

• Urge your legislators throughout October to support public policies that put our health first and make prevention a priority. Visit the Breast Cancer Fund’s Action Center to support our advocacy initiatives that include banning BPA and calling for a national program that provides critical data to connect environmental exposures and diseases.

• Share an e-Card with family and friends. The Breast Cancer Fund and our corporate strategic partner LUNA launched PurePrevention.org in October 2007 to help raise awareness around this important issue. Throughout the site, you can find easy, everyday ways to reduce your risk and to engage your family and friends in prevention by sending a Pure Prevention e-Card. You can also share your story.

A few other opportunities for October:

• Looking for a gift this October? Shop the socially-responsible companies making a commitment to protect our environment and our bodies and supporting the Breast Cancer Fund.

• Create an outdoor challenge in support of the Breast Cancer Fund. On September 27, we held our 14th Peak Hike in Northern California. Over 500 women and men spent a beautiful day hiking for prevention, and for the first time, you can be part of the Peak Hike experience virtually by choosing your own challenge – whether hiking, swimming, running, etc. – and fundraising to support the Breast Cancer Fund.  Invite your family and friends to join you! 

Thank you for helping us make a difference. Your support will elevate the conversation about prevention and work toward stopping this disease before it starts.

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