By Jennifer Robertson
Statistics say about 458,000 people die worldwide each year from breast cancer. Breast cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. Statistics show that one of eight women will develop invasive breast cancer within her lifetime.
The greatest risk factor for getting the disease is simply being female or having a family member who has been diagnosed with the disease, but men are not excluded from getting breast cancer.
Susan G Komen for the Cure is the largest nonprofit, nongovernment organization in the world focused on ending breast cancer. Its mission is to find a cure by investing in research, raising awareness and educating as well as connecting women with access to breast screenings, treatment services and social support programs.
The 23rd Annual Komen Race for the Cure’s 5K competitive run will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday at Fourth Avenue and Polk Street in downtown Amarillo followed by a one mile fun run/walk and then a 5K fun run/walk at 9:15 a.m.
Children are welcome to attend the event as the Expo and Kids for the Cure Corner opens at 8 a.m.
Registration to participate or contribute to the event can be done online at www.komenamarillo.org. Participants are encouraged to start their own team, join an already existing team, donate to a participating team or sign up as an individual.
According to the Komen website, last year’s race and fundraising event, with the help of local businesses and individuals, raised more than $175,000 for breast cancer screenings, education and treatment services in 26 counties of the Panhandle.
Komen said breast exams should be done every three years starting at age 20. By age 40, mammograms should be done annually; however, self-examination is the best tool in finding irregularities in the breast.
In its educational stance, Komen emphasizes the importance of early detection and consistency in getting mammograms as key to survival. Kathy Perry, an Amarillo resident, lost her sister to breast cancer 11 years ago.
“I wish my sister would have had good insurance, and then she would have kept up with her mammograms and yearly physicals,” Perry said. “It could have saved her life if she would have known about her breast cancer sooner.”
Perry’s sister, Linda Robertson, died just a year from the day she was diagnosed with breast cancer as the cancer had spread rapidly throughout her body.
Since its founding in 1982, Komen has invested more than $1.9 million globally toward the fight against breast cancer.
Komen’s current grants for the greater Amarillo area total more than $230,000. The funds are being used by the Don and Sybil Harrington Cancer Foundation, the Moore County Hospital and the Amarillo Area Breast Health Coalition for screenings and treatment services.
Nancy G. Brinker, founder of the organization, has dedicated her life to the eradication of breast cancer in memory of her sister, Susan G. Komen, who lost her life to breast cancer in 1980.