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City in pink: Run for the Cure a big success

Ron Seymour

The Daily Courier


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Women who heed the advice to get regular mammograms can dramatically reduce the chance they‘ll die from breast cancer, a B.C doctor says.
"In B.C., women who get mammograms annually beginning at age 40 almost never die of breast cancer," Dr. Ian Gardner, a member of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation‘s B.C and Yukon chapter, said Sunday.
Gardner told a crowd of more than 2,500 people who turned out for the annual CIBC Run for the Cure that this province leads the country in treatment for breast cancer.
"B.C has the highest five year survival rate for women diagnosed with breast cancer - 92 per cent. That‘s phenomenal," Gardner told those who gathered for the start of the morning run in City Park.
Since peaking in 1986, deaths from breast cancer have dropped by more than 30 per cent, a result, Gardner said, of vastly improved screening procedures and treatment therapies.
One in nine Canadian women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. But barely half of all women have a mammogram, Kelowna Mayor Sharon Shepherd said.
"Only 51 per cent of women in B.C will go for a mammogram," Shepherd said.
"If 70 per cent of women went, we would have one-third fewer deaths from breast cancer."
The total amount raised by run participants Sunday was $339,444, compared to last year‘s total of $311,345. At the run, the Kelowna firefighters union again presented a cheque for $5,000.
Breast cancer survivor Sharon Levesque spoke movingly about her experience with the disease. She was diagnosed in 1999 shortly after retiring from her job at Kelowna General Hospital.
"The lab report stated, three lumps, three different forms of cancer," Levesque said,
describing news of the diagnosis as a "frightening, gut-wrenching experience."
But she survived that first bout with cancer, as well as a second episode three years ago. "It‘s been a journey of hope, strength, courage, and love," Levesque said.
"Together, we are helping to create a future without breast cancer," said Karen McCall, a CIBC manager. A key objective of the annual run is to help raise enough money for successful treatments so that breast cancer is eradicated by 2020.

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