October starts conversations on domestic violence, breast cancer, that should last all year

10/04/2013 4:56 PM

10/04/2013 4:57 PM

The following editorial appeared in the Florence Morning News on Thursday

Two ribbons, one pink and one purple. You'll be seeing them a lot this month.

October is the month for the awareness of both breast cancer (pink) and domestic violence (purple). Beyond the tragedy both breast cancer and domestic violence brings, there also remains hope.

For breast cancer, there’s hope that with more awareness and research, the disease can be detected earlier and successfully treated. For victims of domestic violence, there is hope that there are people out there to help them get out of destructive relationships.

These 31 days are dedicated to that hope. But it can’t be forgotten about in the other 334.

One in eight women runs the risk of having invasive breast cancer in their lifetime. There have been 40,000 deaths nationwide since the beginning of this year. The death rate is 1 in 36, but according to stats from the American Cancer Society, that number is going down. Death rates for breast cancer have steadily decreased in women since 1989, with larger decreases in younger women. The ebbing mortality rate points to how Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Relay for Life and other events have embedded the risk factors and the importance of early detection into our collective consciousness, and the real strides doctors and researchers are making to help combat this dreadful disease – such as a biotech drug from Roche, approved last week, that is geared to treat breast cancer before surgery.

[In the Myrtle Beach and Georgetown County areas, events are scheduled throughout the month and beyond to bring attention to breast cancer. Two events will be held on Saturday: Bras Across the Water, from noon to 4 p.m. at Harbourgate Marina in North Myrtle Beach; and In the Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Walk and Survivor Celebration begins with registration at 8:30 a.m. at Waccamaw Medical Park East in Murrells Inlet.]

Domestic violence strikes even more. It will affect one in every four women in this country in their lifetime. That’s a somber figure. While October and associated events has seemed to help reduce the impact of breast cancer, the same can’t be said for domestic violence, at least here in South Carolina as the Palmetto State is again the worst offender. For the third time, South Carolina leads the nation in violence against women.

A report released last week by the Violence Policy Center puts South Carolina at the top of the list for women murdered by men. The state’s rate of 2.54 women killed per 100,000 people in 2011 is more than twice the national average. The rate represents 61 known deaths. South Carolina has ranked in the report’s top 10 every year for the last 15 years. The state ranked second last year.

[In Horry County, the New Directions non-profit now provides services for victims of domestic violence through its Life Line program. On Nov. 2, A Taste of Georgetown will raise money for the Family Justice Center of Georgetown County, which now operates the shelter for victims in Georgetown County. ]

There are signs of both breast cancer and domestic violence. Know them. Help those who are suffering from them.

The ribbons are a start, but the efforts can’t stop there.

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