by Tatya H.P.
Breast cancer is a highly treatable disease that now has a survival rate of 85 percent. Yet more than 212,000 women are still diagnosed with the condition each year.
Since early diagnosis is an important key to successful treatment, doctors say it's important that all women over the age of 18 do a Breast Self-Exam (BSE) every month, two or three days after their menstrual cycle. In addition, women between 20 and 39 should have a clinical breast exam at least every three years and women 40 and older should have a mammogram every year.
For the past 10 years, BMW of North America has worked with The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation-the largest fund-raiser for breast cancer research in America-to help spread the message of early detection and to help ensure that breast cancer research continues. The groups' Ultimate Drive program has raised millions to help fund the efforts.
The initiative, fully underwritten by BMW, consists of two fleets of specifically badged BMWs making a cross-country trek, stopping in communities along the way to hold daylong events. People will be invited to test-drive the cars-at no cost to the participants-to raise money for breast cancer research, education and screening treatment programs.
The car company donates $1 directly to the Komen Foundation for each mile driven, along with whatever other proceeds are received from the program. Upon completion of every drive, each participant adds his or her own name to the Signature Vehicle-this year, a BMW 3-Series.
This year's goal is to raise over $1 million, bringing the program's 10-year total up to over $10 million. To help celebrate the initiative's 10th anniversary, the 240-stop cross-country trek has been expanded to include Alaska.
People can test-drive the cars to help fight breast cancer. They can also:
• Regularly conduct BSEs, have clinical exams and mammograms
• Stop smoking and stressing
• Get more exercise
• Cut or reduce their alcohol consumption
• Watch their diet. Try to eat plenty of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, grains, fresh fish and poultry.