Like many of you, I was saddened to hear yesterday's news of Elizabeth Edwards's passing after a six-year battle with breast cancer. One of the many remarkable things about Mrs. Edwards was her willingness to speak openly about the fact that she was living with cancer.
Her death also highlights the importance of cancer screening, especially mammograms. Leading cancer organizations, the American Cancer Society among them, recommend annual mammograms for women age 40 and older. Mammograms are essential in detecting the disease early.
Here at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, we're working diligently to find better ways to detect, treat and cure all cancers. Our vision is a world where cancer is no longer a major public health problem, and I believe that will be a reality within the next few decades. Already we're learning that as many as 70 percent of all cancer deaths are preventable.
Our thoughts go out to Elizabeth Edwards's family and loved ones. I hope that her story will serve as an inspiration to the thousands of women who are living with breast cancer every day and to influence other women to get age-appropriate mammograms. Remember, mammography-detected breast cancer has cure rates well in excess of 95 percent.
-Ed Partridge, M.D.