Uniondale man ‘strides against breast cancer’ to honor mom

Earl Jackson walks to honor his mother at Jones Beach on Oct. 20.
Earl Jackson walks to honor his mother at Jones Beach on Oct. 20.

Earl Jackson walks to honor his mother at Jones Beach on Oct. 20. Picture by Valentine Francois

“I walk in honor of my mother, she was only 38 when she died.  If we all can do a little bit, then hopefully a cure can be found so another young man doesn’t have to go through what I went through.”
That was Earl Jackson Jr., 30, of Uniondale speaking candidly about his mother’s struggle with breast cancer.  He was only 15 when she died.

Jackson was participating in the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk at Jones Beach on Sunday, October 20, 2013. The event, which  raised just over $2 million, attracted some 11,504 walkers in 1.648 teams.

State statistics show the incidence rate (cases per 100,000 population per year)  in Nassau County between 2006 and 2010 was 146.2 and in Suffolk County it was 139.8.  Meanwhile, the national incidence rate is 120.9.

The higher incidence rate on Long Island has been the subject of studies to look into possible environmental factors on Long Island.

Elevated incidence

One study which was carried out by the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health Sciences proved inconclusive.

A report on the website said further studies would be needed. “The LIBCSP studies have not identified any environmental factors that could be responsible for the elevated incidence of breast cancer on Long Island or the other locations. There were a few suggestions of associations between certain exposures and increased risk of breast cancer, but these observations would need to be confirmed in other population studies.”

Events such as the Making Strides against Breast Cancer walk help raise importance about breast cancer, awareness and prevention.

Early detection

Vertell Glover-Lilly, 75, volunteered at the event and is a breast cancer survivor herself. She believes that early detection is the key. She advises young women to get mammograms done regularly. Diagnosed at 74, Glover-Lily said a positive attitude kept her from feeling defeated.  She is currently in remission after five radiation treatments.

Anne Thornton, Sr. Representative of Community Engagement for Making Strides against Breast Cancer acknowledged what the days event is really about with this statement “it is about the women in pink, they are the survivors and the reason we all come out here.  We want to find a cure, we do it for them.”

Early diagnosis is sound advice and now with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act, access to mammograms will be much more easier. According to the Act, screening in women’s preventive care that includes mammograms, should be included in health coverage cutting out the requirement for co-pay.