It is breast cancer awareness month and communities across the United States are joining forces to increase awareness and raise funds to eradicate this terrible disease. Since January, there are more than 3.1 million women with a history of breast cancer in the U.S. 2,500+ cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in men.

Local organizations like the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University are striving to raise funds and awareness through the annual Winship Win the Fight 5K and the American Cancer Society along with several presenting sponsors will be hosting the 20th annual Making Strides of Atlanta Walk.

It is in the Genes

My life has been touched firsthand by cancer — several family members have passed away from cancer and I learned I inherited the BRCA1 mutation which put me at a higher risk than the general population for developing cancer. My options were limited — go under high surveillance screening or undergo a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction. I had a prophylactic mastectomy with reconstruction which Aetna deemed medically necessary for reduction of risk of breast cancer and covered a large portion of my surgery(s).

While 12% of women from the general population will develop cancer sometime during their lives, 72% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and about 69% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop breast cancer by the age of 80. 44% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA1 mutation and about 17% of women who inherit a harmful BRCA2 mutation will develop ovarian cancer by the age of 80.

Timing is Everything

To find cancer as early as possible, The American Cancer Society suggests that for women of average risk, all women should begin having yearly mammograms by age 45 and can change to having mammograms every other year beginning at age 55. Women should have the choice to start screening with yearly mammograms as early as age 40 if they want to.

The US Preventative Services Task Force recommends that primary care providers screen women who have family members with breast, ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer with 1 of several screening tools designed to identify a family history that may be associated with an increased risk for potentially harmful mutations in breast cancer susceptibility genes (BRCA1 or BRCA2). Women with positive screening results should receive genetic counseling and if indicated after counseling, BRCA testing.


Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and is responsible for an estimated 9.6 million deaths in 2018. Globally, about 1 in 6 deaths is due to cancer. Here is a list of some resources that may be of help for those in need.

As Georgia’s National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University has demonstrated that its outstanding programs are reducing the cancer burden on the state through research conducted in its laboratories, its clinical trial program, and its population-based science. The prestigious designation places Winship among the top cancer centers in the United States.

The American Cancer Society knows that cancer is scary and overwhelming. Whether someone needs a ride to chemo, emotional support or a place to stay when treatment is far away, The American Cancer Society is here to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training.

Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered mission is to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers. FORCE accomplishes this mission by creating awareness, supplying information and support to our community, advocating for and supporting research and working with the research and medical communities to help people dealing with hereditary breast, ovarian, and related cancers. During the month of October, 100% of the profits from the exclusive FORCE Collection by Sisco Beluti will be donated to FORCE.

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  • Ilana Frenkel Kearns

    Strategic Business Operations and Communications Leader Connecting the Dots to Drive Process Improvement and Organizational Success | Chief of Staff


    With over a decade serving alongside top executives at global Fortune 500 and privately held companies as their trusted business partner and advisor, I provide strategic support for all operational efforts to relieve them of administrative functions, allow them to focus on strategic and tactical responsibilities, and achieve key business outcomes. The following are highlights of the value I’ve brought to organizations: Developed and lead and partnered with C-level executives to design and execute company-wide strategic initiatives, including working with department leaders to define, manage, and track their priorities. On-dollar projects, including new space build-outs, flagship events, and multiple-day offsite events to create team cohesion. Researched, prepared, and coordinated corporate communications and marketing programs to build awareness, and collaborated closely with internal and external partners to drive unmatched results. Guided companies towards increasingly sophisticated and effective use of technology, including effective remote work at the onset of COVID-19. Collaborated to produce and write articles, blogs, social media posts, and communications to build both professional and personal brands, increased partnerships, and boost revenue. Served as a Community Relations Strategy Leader for a multi-million-dollar corporation building relationships with 10+ unique nonprofits across the city of Atlanta and galvanizing volunteerism, sustainability, and people-driven community service. Reach out and connect with me here on LinkedIn so we can discuss the challenges you face with managing daily operations. I’d love to show you how I can lend my expertise to help solve them. Strategic Planning | Risk Management and Mitigation | Cross-Functional Leadership | Stakeholder Engagement | Corporate Communications | Project Management | Meeting and Event Management| Policy and Procedure Management | Collaborative Leadership | Workplace Culture | Resource Optimization | Conflict Resolution | Transparent Communications | Business Case Writing | Corporate Social Responsibility | Inclusion and Diversity