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If Only… A Crystal Ball for the Cure

By Kathryn Helen Geranios : Pink Chair Project RVA

Welcome to a “conversation”

This blog is meant to encourage meaningful conversation about breast cancer. I am considering scientifically based projections that span from the years 2020 to 2040. I ask for more than a crystal ball for predictions. Like you, I want more. I want real.

Primarily, the thrust of this blog is data-driven.

This is for you and for me. I want to invite you into a conversation by reading this blog.

By “conversation”, I mean your thoughtful consideration of the data presented and the implications of future projections for breast cancer. We do not have to talk with one another. We do, however, must think about how the projections relate to all of us now and in the future.

The word, “conversation”, came from a recent discussion I had with a highly respected oncologist who has encouraged sharing data as a springboard for strengthening self, family, and community awareness.

Like many of you, I am a nonscientist. I am involved in the ruthless fight against breast cancer. I do want to know more about breast health and prevention, incidences of breast cancer-- not only locally, but globally, and the present and expected mortality rate. I, like you, care.

Data Summary Shows Uptick

2020: “With over 2.3 million new cases and 685,000 deaths in 2020, breast cancer is the most diagnosed cancer worldwide.

To present: “1 in 8 cancer diagnoses and a total of 2.3 million new cases in both sexes combined.”

2024, distinguishing the difference between mortality rates and incidence rates: "US Expects more than 2M new cases of Cancer".

Over the last 30 years, the risk of dying from cancer has steadily declined, sparing some 4 million lives in the United States.” [however] “Cancer incidence is on the rise.”

2040 Projections: “The future burden of breast cancer is predicted to increase to over 3 million new cases and 1 million deaths in 2040.”

Researcher’s conclusion: “Global efforts and public health measures targeting the whole continuum of cancer control – ranging from primary prevention to early diagnosis, screening, and treatment – are needed to reduce breast cancer mortality and to tackle the overall burden from the disease.”

My Take:

Let me begin with a full disclosure. The seemingly dim and dire projections took me by surprise. Before, I was largely focused on reading about treatment successes and the many inspiring survivor stories, for which I am grateful.

I have spent time reflecting on the future of what some in the medical community refer to as “cancer burdens” affecting individuals, families, society, and the world. Although initially sad and disappointed, I do not feel defeated. The data has emboldened me to share with you. I am equally grateful for the future projections so we all know and can prepare.

The data will serve us better than a crystal ball.

I invite you to continue the conversation with others, with this desire. I wish everyone positive attitudes for healing, compassion for helping, and advocacy for informing and supporting.

Bringing the data home, I do feel compelled to raise crucial questions. Many effective conversations begin with evocative questions that may lead to diverse responses. Here, for consideration, are mine. All responses are valued.

“How can Pink Chair RVA respond to present and future needs?”

“What can I personally do to show support for education and equity concerns for the breast cancer community? —not only here, but beyond?”

“How can I raise awareness so that others are impacted, motivated, and accurately informed?”

“With burgeoning future projections, what can I, alone and with others, do to help Pink Chair to continue to be a noted supportive service now and for the foreseeable future?”


Accredited sources for the data include American Cancer Society, International Agency for Research on Cancer [IARC, part of WHO, notably, the World Health Organization’s Global Health Initiative], Susan G. Komen Foundation, and notably, for the exhaustive study done by:

Arnold M, Morgan E, Rumgay H, Mafra A, Singh D, Laversanne M, et al. Current and future burden of breast cancer: global statistics for 2020 and 2040 Breast, Published online 2 September 2022;

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