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June 4, 2011 was the Susan G. Komen Race for the cure. I have walked in the race for many years. I have created a team for the race because I had patients in my practice who I was treating and I wanted to support their cause.
This year was different; this year I walked as a co-survivor with a dear friend who is an 8-month survivor of breast cancer. A co-survivor is someone who has supported the person diagnosed with breast cancer. In my case that included going to doctor’s appointments, chemo treatments, going shopping, making foods, wig shopping, or just listening or shooting the breeze about anything.
As I walked towards the Washington National mall, I was engulfed by a sea of pink and white t-shirts, about 40,000 according to reports. Race for the Cure is a special event because it is a way for people to come together to emotionally and financially work to cure breast cancer. About 75 percent of the money that has been raised in D.C. will remain in the area to support prevention efforts as well as research. It is an emotional experience for anyone’s life that has been touched by breast cancer. The outpouring of support and love for the survivors and their families is a healing experience for those who can attend. The Komen Foundation has changed the face of research for breast cancer.
I’m sure it was no coincidence that the Canadian Cancer Society recently released a press release about a landmark international study about a breast cancer prevention drug, exemestane, an aromatase inhibitor. Exemestane has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer in women by 65 percent compared to the placebo. Exemestane is used to suppress estrogen production that contribute to some types of breast cancer. The finding were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology and published in the online version of the New England Journal of Medicine. This is a significant finding because the study was done with healthy women who had increased risks for breast cancer. Three years later, the study showed that 65 percent fewer women in the exemestane group had fewer pre-cancerous cells than the placebo group.