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Information key to beating breast cancer

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There are few things that can create as much fear and anxiety as the two simple words, "breast cancer." It is no wonder, given that two in 19 Canadian women can expect to develop breast cancer during their lifetime and one in 26 will die from this disease.

In addition, this potentially deadly disease does not exclude men nor women as young as 20. Twenty-three per cent of breast cancer cases occur in women under age 50, 46 per cent in women aged 50-69, and 32 per cent in women aged 70 and over. As the Canadian population continues to age and grow in size, there will continue to be a corresponding increase in the number of new cancer cases and deaths each year.

The above statistics do not paint a lovely picture. Furthermore, the constant media overload of information (some of which is not so accurate) can create an enormous amount of confusion amongst patients, carers and the general public alike. The good news is that while the incidence rate for breast cancer has increased over 20 per cent in the past 20 years, the mortality rates have been declining. This pattern of divergent trends is consistent with the benefits being achieved through screening programs and improved treatments.

The Whistler Breast Cancer Forum was established to help alleviate the misconceptions surrounding breast cancer and to provide the community with solid information from a variety of viewpoints, in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. All ages, sexes and backgrounds are encouraged to attend.

A panel of highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals will be present to offer their advice and updates on all areas relating to the diagnosis, the treatment and perhaps most importantly, the potential prevention of breast cancer. Among those providing their valuable contributions are:

• Dr. Karen Gelmon, Breast Tumour Group Chair, BC Cancer Agency;

• Dr. Anita Tannis, M.D., Centre for Integrated Healing, Vancouver;

• Hilary Dewolfe, two-year breast cancer survivor at age 29.

The forum will be moderated by BJ Doyle from Mountain FM and will take place at Millennium Place, Whistler on Monday, Sept. 10, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Admission is free and refreshments will be served. The format will provide for lots of questions, open discussion and the sharing of a variety of viewpoints, including those related to both traditional medicine and complementary therapies.

For more information, please contact Linda Seifred, five-year breast cancer survivor, at 604-932-2854, or seifred@telus.net.

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