1 in 8 women diagnosed with breast cancer; Komen's More Than Pink Walk spreads awareness

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Susan G. Komen's More Than Pink walk is coming to Milwaukee on Sunday.

More than 5,000 women are estimated to be diagnosed with breast cancer this year alone. Nikki Panico, Susan G. Komen Wisconsin executive director, knows firsthand just how important it is to continue to raise awareness. "I'm not a stranger to the disease," she said.

Panico lost her mom and aunt to breast cancer in 2008. The two died a month apart and the next year, Panico was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 39.

More than 10 years later, Panico is still here and is now a champion for other families battling the disease. "I was so lucky. I had great health insurance, a supportive family, access to the best doctors, but everyone does not," she said.

Since 2012 she's been working with Susan G. Komen to make an impact, raising money and awareness for cancer research and to support those who can't afford treatment.

"In my mom's specific example, her very first chemo appointment she was denied the drug because her insurance didn't carry it and I knew she's not the only one," said Panico.

The number of breast cancer screenings declined during the pandemic, so ahead of this year's More Than Pink Walk, she wants to encourage everyone to take charge of their health.

"Pay attention all the time of how you look and how you feel, so that when something changes you notice it and if it stays a change for more than a few weeks, then you want to talk to your doctor," she said.

The walk is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 9 at Henry Meier Festival Park. The opening ceremony begins at 9 a.m. CBS 58's Natalie Shepherd is slated to emcee. Click here to register.

Resources for those impacted by breast cancer:

The Susan G. Komen Helpline: Call 1-877-465-6636 or email [email protected]

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