More than 3,500 women are estimated to get breast cancer this year, and that is in South Carolina alone, according to the American Cancer Society.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a month where organizations work so that one day the number of breast cancer cases narrows to nil.
Throughout the month, Aiken Regional Medical Centers plans to raise breast cancer awareness through the stories of cancer survivors. Starting Sunday, the hospital will run a weekly "We are Living Hope" ad in the Aiken Standard, which will link readers to the hospital's website to read the week's advertised cancer survivor story.
The hospital will also host the 17th annual National Cancer Survivor Day, an outdoor event for cancer survivors "to celebrate life," Brittni Everhardt, hospital communication specialist, said. The event will be held starting at 11:30 a.m. Friday.
As a prevention method, the hospital offers an annual mammogram reminder through its website, which can be viewed by visiting www.aikenregional.com.
In early September, Jackie Younce, a TLC Medical Centre Inc. medical equipment technician, donated 10 inches of her hair to the American Cancer Society, Locks of Love program. This was just a first step, as every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., patrons may visit the pharmacy at 190 Crepe Myrtle Court to donate their hair.
The Pink Ribbonettes will have its third annual Pink Tea at 3 p.m. on Oct. 11 to honor breast cancer survivors, those who didn't survive, celebrate the caregivers and raise awareness.
Relay For Life teams will also hold various events throughout the month.
"It is vital that (breast cancer) be detected early, and women are their own best defense," said Lisa Glass, ACS community manager for the South Atlantic division.
Susan G. Komen S.C. Mountains to Midlands division will reach out to educate area communities through churches on Oct. 21 for the eighth annual Pink Sunday event.
Breast Cancer Prevention Coalition of the CSRA focuses on raising money for breast cancer, educating and supporting cancer patients and volunteering.
President Nita Zachow has been breast cancer free for 12 years after battling the disease twice.
"My doctors were glad I was a healthy person," she said. "(I had) a lot better chance to survive than someone who wasn't healthy."
From experiences like Zachow's, the coalition encourages people to maintain a good diet and regular exercise.
"I praise God and give credit to research that I'm alive and, of course, good nutrition and healthy lifestyle. That's what we are telling our young people," she said.
The coalition is going to area schools, such as Midland Valley High School and North Augusta Middle School, to show its teen wellness educational video, which features WJBF anchor Jennie Montgomery and Dr. Robert Pendergrast, a physician in North Augusta. The participating schools are also hosting events such as 'Pink Out Days,' assemblies featuring breast cancer survivors and pink wrist band sales.
Pendergrast will also talk about cancer-risk reducing foods at the coalition's third annual Find the Cure event, which takes place at 11 a.m. on Oct. 6 at New Life Natural Foods in Augusta. Lunch and a business meeting will also be held.
After the event at 1 p.m., Mimi's Boutique & Intimates will kick-off its Pink-Out Party, where the store will donate $5 for every bra sold to the coalition. The boutique is located in National Hills and Evans Town Center Boulevard.
According to the American Cancer Society, breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer women are diagnosed with and the second top-type that causes death.
When the tumor is at an early stage, symptoms are usually unnoticed; some less common symptoms are swelling, skin irritation and redness, according to the American Cancer Society. Mammograms and self-exams are recommended for early detection.
Treatment methods include radiation therapy, chemotherapy and lymph node-removal surgery.
For more information on breast cancer awareness and how to support it. visit the American Cancer Sociiety at www.cancer.org.