Today marks the fifth consecutive year the Kentucky New Era has printed a paper on pink newsprint to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We are a community newspaper, and this special edition of the New Era is significant because it makes all of us partners in the work done locally to screen and treat patients for breast cancer.

A portion of the profits generated by this paper will be given to the local Pink Ribbon Network, which provides education and support for women diagnosed with breast cancer. Over the past four years, the donation has averaged around $1,000. So today we thank every reader who purchases and reads this newspaper.

The National Cancer Institute estimates 232,670 women and 2,360 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Of those, it is estimated 40,000 women and 430 men will die from the disease.

A girl born today has a 1 in 8 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer in her life. Age is the greatest risk factor for getting breast cancer. Early detection increases the odds of survival. Every woman must make an informed decision with her physician about when and how often to have mammograms. Although there are different opinions among physicians about when screenings should begin, it is clear that early detection is crucial.

Among women diagnosed with breast cancer that is localized to the breast, 98.5 percent can expect to survive for five years. For those with cancer in a local lymph node (usually under an arm), the five-year survival rate is 84.6 percent. In breast cancer that has metastasized — meaning it has spread to another part of the body — the survival rate at five years is only 25 percent.

The statistics are both sobering and encouraging.

Every day, researchers are discovering more about the different types of breast cancer and how to treat the disease. Their work increases every cancer patient’s odds of survival.

We are all partners in this work.

After you’ve read today’s paper, consider sharing it with a friend, a relative or a neighbor. Help spread the word that early detection of breast cancer saves lives.

Kentucky New Era editorials are the consensus opinion of the editorial board, which includes Publisher Taylor W. Hayes, Opinion Editor Jennifer P. Brown and Editor Eli Pace.

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