Guest op-ed: Marking the 30th anniversary of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October marks the 30th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, we remember those who lost their lives to the disease and support those who survive as we continue to move forward to do everything possible to treat and prevent this illness.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed each year. While a breast cancer diagnosis can be a frightening and traumatic experience, screenings and early discoveries of the disease have proven to be life-saving.

Throughout my tenure in the Assembly, I have been a proud advocate of many bills that would expand cancer prevention or to help those who are breast cancer survivors. Eradicating breast cancer is a continuing battle, and mammography screenings play an important role in detecting tumors at an early stage.

Recognizing this, the Assembly passed legislation that would allow state employees up to four hours of paid annual leave to undergo cancer screening. It is our hope that this bill will give public servants across the state an opportunity to access preventative care and to catch cancerous diseases in their opening phases before they progress.

This bill should also help stem the tide of rising health care costs that result from these diseases going undetected until they are very serious. I truly believe our work is never done when it comes to encouraging those at risk to make sure they screen themselves and catch this disease in its early stages.

Early detection and proper treatment will help ensure that the lives of our mothers, grandmothers, sisters, wives, daughters, friends and co-workers will not be claimed by this deadly disease. We need to make sure we are doing everything we can do to help those who are diagnosed and encourage early prevention.

I strongly urge all women to take appropriate measures to protect themselves from the threats of this dreadful disease. If you have any questions and would like to talk to a professional, please reach out to Adelphi NY Statewide Breast Cancer Hotline and Support Program at 800-877-8077.

Assemblymember Peter Abbate represents the 49th A.D. that includes Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, Boro Park and Sunset Park.

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