October: Breast Cancer and Domestic Violence Awareness Month
This month marks two very special observances that seek to both protect and empower women
National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is celebrating 25 years of awareness, dedication, and empowerment. Even many pro football players are wearing pink shoes, socks and towels to heighten awareness for this devastating disease. Breast cancer affects women young and old. While Breast cancer isn’t something that I come across as a treating physician since I confine my practice to the face and neck, this subject still holds dear to my heart. I know excellent physicians who dedicate their skills to helping victims.
I dedicate my expertise to another dreadful cause for human suffering that is also being recognized this month – Domestic Violence. Every 9 seconds a woman is battered in the U.S. by her partner. Over 500,000 cases of domestic violence are reported each year; however, experts say that the incidence may be as high as three times that number. This applies to teenage relationships as well.
We are doing our part by participating in the Face to Face program of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. The organization offers complimentary consultations, surgery, counseling, and support to shattered victims of domestic abuse who otherwise would not be able to afford reconstructive or facial plastic surgery. My office is taking action against domestic violence and offering pro-bono reconstructive surgery through Face to Face. Facial trauma is a visual reminder that can never be hidden. The brave lady below met with me last spring through the Face to Face program. She had reconstructive surgery on her nose and a deviated septum. Her new nose means so much more to her than just ‘a new nose’. She no longer sees her past while glancing into the mirror each morning. She now has a new career, a beautiful family, and a new reflection on life.
If you know someone who is being abused, you must get them help and out of the relationship. It’s been documented that abuse is most likely to escalate. If you know someone who has been or might be subject to domestic violence, have them call the Women in Distress 24 – Hour hotline at 954-761-1122 or visit http://www.womenindistress.org/.
This is the month to protect and empower women who fall victim to two devastating conditions: Breast cancer and domestic violence. There are many ways that you can take a stand and spread awareness on both issues. You can walk a marathon, contribute to charities, or, like many teams in the NFL, show your support by wearing pink! Steven J. Pearlman, MD, FACS