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NEWS | Oct. 15, 2012

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month focuses attention on second leading cancer killer of women

By Kirk Frady Kirk Frady

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month across the nation. Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed non-skin cancer in women and one out of every eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.

"This year, approximately 226,870 women in the U.S. will receive a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer and 63,300 women will be diagnosed with in situ breast cancer," said Gail Whitehead, U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

"Although male breast cancer is rare and accounts for less than 1 percent of all breast carcinomas in the U.S., about 2,190 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year."

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in women in the United States. Approximately 39,510 women and 410 men in the U.S. are projected to die from breast cancer this year.

The Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program was established in 1992 as a result of the efforts of breast cancer advocates.

Their continued efforts, in concert with the program's successes, have resulted in more than $2.6 billion in congressional appropriations through fiscal year 2011 executed by the Congressionally directed Medical Research Programs of MRMC.

The BCRP vision is adapted yearly to ensure that the program remains responsive to what is currently happening in the research community.

Over the years, the program has created and introduced unique funding mechanisms to support a broad portfolio of research and training awards that have transformed the breast cancer field.

The BCRP challenges scientists to pursue high-risk, high-reward research that has the potential to make major leaps to eradicate the disease. The program is committed to supporting new, innovative ideas that reflect new discoveries and could lead to breakthroughs.

It also promotes synergistic collaborations across disciplines and integrates scientists and consumers in unique research partnerships.

During the past 20 years, the DOD Breast Cancer Research Program has funded more than 6,100 research awards and brought forward new diagnostics, therapeutic drugs, mammography registries for surveillance, improved website information, advances in identification of genetic bio-markers, and therapeutic development using nanotechnology.

Early detection of breast cancer can help in providing treatment for the service member and their beneficiaries. For those women diagnosed with localized (Stage 1) breast cancer there is a more than 98 percent probability that they will survive 5 or more years.

Lowering the risk of death from breast cancer for service members and their beneficiaries contributes to the readiness and well being of those who serve.

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