Breast Cancers Are Diagnosed Every Day, Every Year

October was National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at raising awareness about the importance of early detection, access to quality and timely care, and funding breakthrough research for metastatic breast cancer. October is over, but our fight against the disease is not.

This year alone, it is estimated doctors will find more than 250,000 new cases of breast cancer, and more than 40,000 women in the U.S. will die of the disease.

Dianne Primavera

I am a breast cancer survivor.

I’ve known the fear of dying. I’ve seen the horror in my children’s eyes when I told them I had cancer. I’ve experienced the sadness, anxiety, frustration, and anger provoked by a diagnosis of cancer.

I’m not alone. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in this country and the second most likely to cause death.

It is caring organizations like Susan G. Komen Colorado that give hope to all of us. Komen Colorado makes a difference. It has invested more than $42 million into its service area since it was founded in 1991. These funds are dedicated to educating the public about the disease and ensuring individuals can get breast exams, mammograms, diagnostic procedures, chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, and financial support while undergoing treatment.

Komen believes a Coloradan’s quality of breast cancer care should not be dependent upon one’s ability to pay, age, or insurance coverage.

The generosity of Komen Colorado donors funds research to understand more about what causes breast cancer, how we can prevent it, detect and diagnose it sooner, and more effectively treat it. New tools and technology lead to earlier diagnoses. Importantly, research findings have contributed to significant reduction in breast cancer mortality. Breast cancer deaths in the U.S decreased 39 percent from 1989-2015. Research is the only way we will discover, deliver cures, and further reduce deaths from breast cancer.

My battles with cancer motivated my interest in health issues during the eight years I served in Colorado’s General Assembly. Republicans and Democrats collaborated to draft and pass legislation to improve access to mammography and clinical trials; align laws with the community’s need to prevent, diagnose, and treat the disease and provide palliative care; improve patient safety; and address other important health care reforms. Our legislators demonstrated that protecting and saving lives are not partisan issues.

Those diagnosed could be your mom, sister, grandmother, aunt, co-worker, neighbor, or friend.  And, yes, the men you dearly love could also be diagnosed with breast cancer. About one percent of all breast cancer cases occur in men.

They need your support as they start their journey toward survival. They need your love and support year round. And, while the evolution in our understanding of breast cancer has set the stage for a new era in therapy and prevention, there is so much more to do. For each day, another woman will find a lump in her breast or receive that horrifying call from the doctor after having a mammogram.

Help us fight breast cancer. December 5 is Colorado Gives Day – a day to celebrate and increase philanthropy. Please consider donating to Susan G. Komen Colorado on this day or in the days ahead.

Dianne Primavera, Chief Executive Officer, joined Susan G. Komen Colorado, in April 2017, after serving in the state legislature for eight years as the representative from Colorado House District 33 in Broomfield. During her tenure in the Colorado General Assembly, Primavera held terms as chair and committee member on the Public Health Care and Human Services and Health Insurance and Environment committees. Her work gained her recognition as an expert on Colorado’s health care and human services systems.

A Colorado native, Primavera’s background in rehabilitation counseling for Coloradans living with disabilities informs her commitment to ensuring medically underserved communities can access the breast cancer care they need to detect the disease early, receive high-quality care when diagnosed, and have the opportunity to enroll in clinical trials as appropriate.

As a 29-year breast cancer survivor with two adult daughters, Primavera brings a deeply personal dedication to supporting those with breast cancer, and helping fund research for better treatments and, ultimately, a cure to the most frequently diagnosed cancer in the world. Primavera carried more cancer-related bills than any other legislator did in the state’s history. She poured the strength and resilience she gained in her own battle against the disease into her work as a legislator and brings that same resolve to the frontlines of the fight at Komen Colorado.

Primavera holds a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology, with a minor in theology and education, from Regis College, a Master of Arts degree in vocational rehabilitation counseling from the University of Northern Colorado, and an Executive Education Certificate in Senior Executives in State and Local Government from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.