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The Assembly Minority Conference

October Is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

Each year, more than 16,000 women in New York state are diagnosed with breast cancer, making it one of the most common types of cancers in the state and in the nation. Tragically, close to 2,500 women in the state succumb to the disease each year, according to the Department of Health. During October, which is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Assembly Minority Conference remains committed to combating breast cancer by promoting education and prevention.

The statistics surrounding breast cancer both in New York and across the nation are truly eye opening. The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation reports there will be an estimated 281,500 cases of new, invasive breast cancer leading to the death of close to 44,000 women annually. For this reason, initiatives like Breast Cancer Awareness Month are so important. In order to combat any public health threat, concerted efforts to ensure every individual has the information and tools necessary to protect themselves and their loved ones are needed. Breast Cancer Awareness Month provides that opportunity.

Further, the Foundation, citing recommendations from the American Cancer Society, suggests women at average risk of breast cancer aged 40 to 44 speak with their doctor about getting yearly screenings if they feel it necessary, while women aged 45 to 54 are urged to do so every year. For women older than 55 and in good health, the health organization recommends a screening every two years.

For those able and willing to contribute, the National Breast Cancer Foundation accepts donations to support efforts to combat breast cancer, including providing mammograms for women in need. The organization also offers patient support specializing in at-risk groups and other valuable and informative programs for women battling breast cancer. Initiatives and programs such as these are even more important as COVID-19 has drastically inhibited access to healthcare in recent months.

In my district, the Oswego County Opportunities Cancer Services Program has launched an educational crusade aimed at spreading the word about the importance of getting annual mammograms. Highlights of the initiative include the “Healthy You” event taking place on Sunday, Oct. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Steamers in Oswego. There, a panel of healthcare experts will answer questions about screenings, symptoms and treatments for ovarian and breast cancer.

Additionally, Oswego County Opportunities will host its 8th Annual Human Pink Ribbon event on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon at Bullhead Point in Fulton.

This month, we all have an opportunity to help raise awareness about this terrible disease. I am hopeful that through the great work of these local, state and national organizations we will be able to provide the support, funding and services needed to fight breast cancer – for those newly diagnosed and survivors and their families.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at