Taking a Swing at Breast Cancer
By Rep. Kristi Noem
July 2, 2015
I have known Lynn Popham for a long time – more than two decades, I suppose. We’ve spent hours together at ball games, rodeos, and our kids’ school events. She’s an incredible mom to two young men, a hard worker, a trusted neighbor, and a tremendous asset to our community. Last December, Lynn learned she had Stage 2 breast cancer.
This year alone, approximately 230,000 women are expected to learn that they too must fight breast cancer, according to the latest American Cancer Society data. Just over 2,000 men will also have to battle the disease. Each of these journeys will come with highs and lows, but I have to say that so far, Lynn has weathered her diagnosis and treatments with an unbelievably positive attitude. While she has a ways to go in her journey with breast cancer, I believe her strength and perseverance for the first leg of the race deserves recognition. This summer, I had the opportunity to give Lynn some of that well-deserved recognition.
Each year, women in Congress – both Republicans and Democrats – join to play in the Congressional Women’s Softball Game against female members of the press corps. We do it as a way to increase awareness about breast cancer and help raise funds for the Young Survival Coalition, an organization that supports the women who have been diagnosed and helps move us closer to a cure. This year, I was proud to play in honor of Lynn.
Through events like this and the dedication of groups like the Young Survival Coalition, we have increased Americans’ awareness about breast cancer to historic levels. One of the tangible benefits of that work has been an increase in the number of mammograms. In fact, while just 29 percent of women had gotten a mammogram in 1987, 67 percent of women had gotten one in 2010. Lynn was one of those women.
The increase in mammography has helped more women detect their cancer early, which in turn has boosted survival rates. The American College of Radiology reports that mammography has helped reduce breast cancer mortality in the United States by nearly one-third since 1990.
As a result of early-detection efforts and stronger science, there are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today. That’s incredible. Please join me in taking a swing against breast cancer this summer. Find a way to support women like Lynn and their families. Put together an early detection plan for yourself – the National Breast Cancer Foundation has a tool that can help at www.earlydetectionplan.org. Or support one of the many organizations fighting for a cure. Together, we can beat breast cancer.