October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Ithaca Blog contacted Bob Riter, Associate Director of the Ithaca Breast Cancer Alliance, with some questions about IBCA's efforts.
Ithaca Blog: Please tell us about ICBA's fundraising effort for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
IBCA: October 13 is our 14th annual walk. It's become our signature event and many people first became aware of our organization because of it.
Two exciting changes are taking place this year. We've changed the venue to the beautiful Cornell Plantations, and we've added a run - the Strength in Numbers 5K.
IB: Can you tell us about ICBA's "First Tuesdays" program?
IBCA: First Tuesdays is an education program that meets the first Tuesday of every month in the Bonnie Howell Conference Room at Cayuga Medical Center, from 4:30 - 6:00. We usually speak informally for the first half-hour, then have a speaker to address some topic of interest to people affected by cancer. Men and women with all types of cancer attend, as do their loved ones. The next session is November 6. The speaker will be from Cornell's Comparative Cancer Program.
An important component of First Tuesdays is connecting with other people who have your specific type of cancer. It's common for everyone to linger after the formal program to meet with others who know exactly what you're dealing with.
IB: IBCA recently moved to a new location. What does the move mean for the organization?
IBCA: IBCA recently moved to its first permanent home, at 612 W. State Street. The entire first floor is designed to offer a warm and comforting environment for our clients when they stop by to use our library, meet with staff, and engage in programs. Compared to our previous office, this building has a lot of space and a more functional layout for staff and volunteers.
We're especially pleased with the new office because it gives us a real physical presence in our community. It's on a busy street and in Ithaca's emerging West End.
IB: Do you think as a society we have reached a new level of cancer awareness? What are the most important issues now?
IBCA: People are more aware of cancer than in the past. The numbers are really staggering. One in three women will develop cancer in her lifetime, as will one in two men. It affects all of us in one way or another.
I think one critical issue is the need for a greater focus on cancer prevention. We've made considerable progress in better detection and treatment, but research money for prevention is woefully lagging.
Another issue is access to care. People without insurance delay seeking care because they can't afford it. As a result, their cancers are diagnosed at a later and more lethal stage.
For more information on IBCA, including its Walk and Run event, see the IBCA website, http://www.icba.net/.
for Ithaca Blog