By John Green, Geralyn Lucas, Tomomi Arikawa and Adriana Pratt:
The statistics are startling. According to the American Cancer Society, about one in eight women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime. Women are still confused about screening options and breast health recommendations. The "Angelina Effect" has raised awareness, but also a multitude of questions about heredity and preventative mastectomies.
ABC News is dedicating its resources to reporting on breast health this October, the month of national breast cancer awareness. In addition to informing viewers throughout the month, ABC News is asking Americans to go online and take the Pink Pledge.
I pledge to:
To sign the pledge, click here.
Along with the ABC News medical team of Dr. Richard Besser and Dr. Jennifer Ashton, several of the nation's leading breast cancer experts are telling us what Americans should know NOW about breast cancer:
"A significant number of women get screening mammograms, but do not follow-up and get abnormal findings assessed.
"A substantial number of women with diagnosed potentially curable breast cancer get no treatment because they are afraid to get care and sometimes because they cannot afford care."
-Otis Brawley, M.D. Chief Medical Officer American Cancer Society
"By following current guidelines, I was lucky to be diagnosed with an early stage of very treatable breast-cancer just after my 50 th birthday. But unfortunately the message of early detection has been lost or trivialized by the confusion over the importance of screening mammography in the general population. As a result, I am seeing too many women with advanced disease. It's also troubling to me that not only did they lose their chance for early detection, but they probably have also lost their chance to save their precious lives."
-Marisa Weiss, M.D. Founder and President Breastcancer.org
"Breast cancer is a curable and survivable disease. Screening, detection and good treatment are all critically important."
-Cliff Hudis, M.D. Chief of Breast Cancer Medicine Service Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
"Most women who develop breast cancer don't have a family history of it. Even if no one in your family had it, you should take the pledge and learn the facts about breast cancer."
- Richard Besser. M.D. Chief Health and Medical Editor ABC News
"My mission … is to achieve a future without breast cancer by focusing on prevention and finding the cause. The urgency of finding the cause is driven by the collateral damage and limitations of our current approach."
-Susan Love, M.D. President Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation
"Significant progress in the treatment of breast cancer has been achieved to date, but much work needs to be done in both research and education to help realize cures."
-Edith A. Perez, M.D Deputy Director at Large Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
"Whether you are about prevention, detection or treatment of breast cancer, know this: you are not alone."
- Jennifer Ashton, M.D. Senior Medical Contributor ABC News
While some of the statistics are grim, there are many positive medical advances taking place in the breast cancer community. We hope that you will join ABC News in going pink this October, and encourage your family and friends to take the Pink Pledge. Breast cancer is not just a female issue - it's a family issue.