Honor Those Who Have Lost The Battle, Encourage Others To Get A Mammogram

Legislative Column by Assemblyman Ed Ra (21st Assembly District)

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we take pause to honor the lives lost each year to this disease and continue to support early detection programs and services. Mammograms have been a proven, time-tested tool physicians can use to help save lives. A diagnosis of cancer places tremendous strains on any family, a fact that many of us, unfortunately, know all too well. Early detection is the best weapon we have in the fight against cancer; I strongly encourage all women to get an annual mammogram and regular screenings.

Many women may be hesitant to schedule a mammogram out of fear. This is understandable. However, close to 95% of all mammograms will be negative, and for the rest, early detection is the key to successfully surviving the disease. That’s why it’s so important to encourage a loved one to schedule a mammogram today.

This year, I will be holding my first annual mammogram screening on Friday, October 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at the Floral Park Recreation Center. In conjunction with Liz’s Day, I’m encouraging women who are over 40 years old and have not had a mammogram in over a year, as well as women who are asymptomatic, to attend this event. Even without cancer-like symptoms, it is important for women concerned about their health to get into the routine of a regular exam. I’m proud to have Nassau University Medical Center join me to kick off Liz’s Day by offering screenings, information from specialists, and important steps you can take for the early detection of breast cancer.

Liz’s Day, which will be held on October 15 also at the Floral Park Recreation Center, is named for the memory of Elizabeth McFarland, who lost her battle with breast cancer. To date, Liz’s Day has raised over $500,000 for cancer research at Cold Spring Harbor Labs.

According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 192,370 new cases of invasive breast cancer were expected to be diagnosed among women in 2009. In light of these sobering statistics, I have supported legislation (A.5313) which would create a breast cancer registry in New York State and direct the state Department of Health to investigate and research the causes, prevention, early detection and treatment of breast cancer.

Please join me this month in honoring those women who have courageously lost the battle with breast cancer in the past as we continue the fight to find a cure. I ask everyone to urge their mother, daughter, sister or loved one to take a break from their busy schedules to get a screening and tell others about the life-saving potential of mammograms.

For more information on my first annual mammogram screening, Liz’s Day, or any other state issue, please contact my district office at 437-5577 or email rae@assembly.state.ny.us.