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The fear

September 30, 2002|by KATE COLEMAN

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death due to cancer in women.

Breast cancer is the second most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and second leading cause of death due to cancer.

This year, an estimated 205,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed, and there will be 40,000 deaths.

But more than twice as many women die from heart disease and stroke than from all forms of cancer including breast cancer.

Despite the numbers, many women seem to have a greater fear of breast cancer than heart disease.

Why?

"Because it's our femininity. We can't get around it," says breast cancer survivor Kathy Bachtell, who is vice president of Y-ME of the Cumberland Valley, the local breast cancer information and support organization.

Barbara Bernhardt, a genetic counselor and associate professor at Johns Hopkins, says she thinks women may feel that they have some control over heart disease - in terms of diet, exercise and medications.

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Breast cancer seems to come more out of the blue, she says.

For more information, go to the Web site of the National Cancer Institute, www.nci.nih.gov and the Web site of the American Heart Association, www.americanheart.org.

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