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October is breast cancer awareness month

Carol Stillerman (20 year breast cancer survivor) and Nevada Moss (4 year breast cancer survior) orgnizing photos that will be placed around the square for the month of October-breast cancer awarness month.

Carol Stillerman (20 year breast cancer survivor) and Nevada Moss (4 year breast cancer survior) orgnizing photos that will be placed around the square for the month of October-breast cancer awarness month.

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Larry Meadors helping Kay Goff (8 year breast cancer survivor) orgnize the photos of breast cancer survivors around the square. The first year they had the photos there were 12--now there are 60 portraits. Meadors wife Ellen is a 6 1/2 year survivor of breast cancer and this was his first time helping out with the portraits.

CONYERS -- Local residents will start seeing pink this month beginning with this special edition of the Citizen to bring awareness to the fight for breast cancer cure and prevention during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The annual awareness campaign brings local businesses, volunteers and others together each October to raise funds for cancer research and encourage preventive measures such as breast self-examinations and mammography procedures.

Incidences of breast cancer spiked in the 1980s due to increased screenings. The rate of new breast cancer cases leveled off in the 1990s and dropped between 1999 and 2006, according to the American Cancer Society.

Despite the encouraging trend, breast cancer is second only to lung cancer as a leading cause of cancer deaths among women. Of the 271,520 estimated cancer deaths among women in 2011, 15 percent will be breast cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

Also, ACS data shows white women have a higher incidence of breast cancer than black women beginning at age 45. In contrast, black women have a higher incidence rate before age 45 and are more likely to die from breast cancer at every age.

The conclusion from the ACS is that mortality rates are affected by availability of early detection.

In Rockdale County, the Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation is heading up local breast cancer awareness efforts. The non-profit organization continues to raise money to establish a voucher program in east metro communities that will allow uninsured and underinsured residents to get a free mammography exam.

Brenda Edwards, KCAF director, said the first voucher program is scheduled to begin this month through a partnership with Rockdale Medical Center.

The foundation will also unveil a "Wall of Hope" display on Thursday, Oct. 27, at Rockdale Medical Center. The display will include photos of local breast cancer survivors.

That will follow with unusual hours for RMC's mammography center to allow people a chance to get an examination without taking time off from work. The center will be open 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, and 8 a.m. To 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.

Also, the foundation will hold its annual chili cook-off on Friday, Oct. 28, at National EMS to raise funds for the mammography voucher program.

In Newton County, the annual Portraits of Hope exhibit kicks off the local breast cancer awareness campaign on the Square in Covington.

Participating merchants will display portraits of those in the community who have passed away from or survived breast cancer. The exhibit is a collaboration of Main Street Covington and the Newton Medical Center's Women's Diagnostic Center and Volunteer Services.

Merchants will offer special promotions for the month. Proceeds and donations will support the Hope Boutique and Cancer Support Groups at Newton Medical Center.

Kay Goff is an eight-year breast cancer survivor and coordinator of the Hope Boutique and Cancer Support Groups at the hospital. She said Portraits of Hope helps keep those support and counseling services available to breast cancer patients and survivors.

The Rockdale Citizen and Newton Citizen newspapers are also joining local businesses, volunteers and others to bring attention to the fight for a cure for breast cancer and prevention with today's special "Read Pink" edition.

Both newspapers are donating a portion of the proceeds from today's newspaper to three local organizations that support breast cancer research, treatment and prevention -- the Kimberley Chance Atkins Foundation, Newton Medical Auxiliary/Hope Boutique and LifePoint Community Foundation/Rockdale Medical Center.

"Today's Citizen is printed on pink newsprint in order to help grow awareness of breast cancer in our community and build efforts to prevent and treat this disease," said Citizen Editor/Publisher Alice Queen. "According to the Georgia Department of Community Health, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Georgia and the second leading cause of cancer death among women in Georgia. Early detection is the key to successful treatment, which is why building awareness is so important. With the help of the advertisers who supported this edition of the Citizen, we hope to aid in the fight against breast cancer so that those numbers are drastically reduced."

The Citizen will also publish each Friday in October stories to profile local residents who will share their story of hope in facing and beating breast cancer.