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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Increasing Breast Cancer Awareness, In Memory Of Sophia McCune

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

AstraZeneca, a manufacturer of breast cancer drugs, and the American Cancer Society founded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 1985. It is meant to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

Worldwide, breast cancer comprises 10.4% of all cancer incidence among women, making it the most common type of non-skin cancer in women and the fifth most common cause of cancer death.

The lifetime risk for breast cancer in the United States is usually given as 1 in 8 (12.5%) with a 1 in 35 (3%) chance of death.

Breast cancer is about 100 times more common in women than in men, although males tend to have poorer outcomes due to delays in diagnosis.


The United States has the highest annual incidence rates of breast cancer in the world; 128.6 per 100,000 in whites and 112.6 per 100,000 among African Americans. It is the second-most common cancer (after skin cancer) and the second-most common cause of cancer death (after lung cancer).

Breast cancer screening refers to testing otherwise-healthy women for breast cancer in an attempt to achieve an earlier diagnosis. The assumption is that early detection will improve outcomes. A number of screening test have been employed including: clinical and self breast exams, mammography, genetic screening, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging.

Treatment includes surgery, drugs (hormonal therapy and chemotherapy) and radiation.

In 2004, breast cancer caused 519,000 deaths worldwide (7% of cancer deaths; almost 1% of all deaths). In 2007, breast cancer was expected to cause 40,910 deaths in the US (7% of cancer deaths; almost 2% of all deaths). This figure includes 450-500 annual deaths among men out of 2000 cancer cases.

There's one breast cancer death which had a profound impact on my life. It was the loss of my grandmother, Sophia McCune.

She was born in Poland on May 4, 1911, the daughter of John and Anna Blaschak. The family resided in Krakow.

It was August 6, 1920 when she arrived at Ellis Island, listed as Zofia Blaszczak. The family settled in McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh.

Sophia married Tony McCune, in McKees Rocks, on November 19, 1928.

The couple settled and lived in Newell, Pennsylvania for the next 30+ years. Their family expanded to include four children. Anita was the first; followed by Alex, Lorraine and Loretta.

Tony McCune, and the members of his family moved, one by one, to an area outside of Newell. It appears on maps of Jefferson Township as Kenneth. Although, locally, it was commonly known as "Babich Hill".

Tony and Sophia's marriage lasted over 50 years. They spent the remainder of their lives residing in "the country" outside of Newell. Sophia passed on in May of 1984 and Tony in October of 1987.


The couple lie together in peace at Lafayette Memorial Park near Brownsville.


 Breast Cancer Resources...

A pink ribbon is recognized as the universal symbol of breast cancer awareness. This symbol will be displayed in posts appearing in Stark County, Ohio News and Views... during the month of October; both to help increase awareness of breast cancer and in memory of Sophia McCune.

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