Every three minutes a woman learns she has breast cancer. And breast cancer continues to be the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women.

Since 1972, the American Cancer Society has invested nearly $352 million in breast cancer research grants and continues to be the largest non-governmental supporter of breast cancer research in the country.

Want to fight breast cancer in central Ohio? The American Cancer Society will hold its 9th annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Columbus 5K non-competitive walk on Oct. 5 at COSI, 333 W. Broad St.

Last year alone, nearly 500,000 Making Stridesparticipants in more than 130 communities nationwide raised $50 million to fight breast cancer. Since 1993, 4 million Strides walkers around the country have raised more than $280 million. Columbus' event has brought in approximately $1 million.

Money raised supports American Cancer Society research, services and programs. Programs offered in central Ohio funded by Making Strides proceeds include:

BEST (Breast, Education and Screening Together)-Provides free mammograms and some diagnostic breast cancer screenings for uninsured, underinsured, low-income women.

The American Cancer Society also provides up-to-date breast cancer information,advocates for public policies to ensure all women have access to breast cancer screenings and treatment, and provides services that improve the quality of life for patients and their families.

Making Strides of Columbus kicks off Sun., Oct. 5 at COSI, 333 W. Broad St. Registration runs from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Exercises by local health professionals is from 9:30 to 9:40 a.m. Opening ceremonies then commence, ending at 10 a.m., followed by the start of the walk. The Strides route begins downtown, winds through German Village and returns to COSI. Following the walk, refreshments and snacks will be provided by Panera.

Ample parking at COSI is provided and there is nopre-registration required. You can sign up the day of the event to walk. More than 4,500people are expected toparticipate.

Breast cancer survivorship rates continue to improve. But that battle is not over. We still are searching for a cure. Research is funded by the money raised at events such as Making Strides of Columbus. The American Cancer Society needs everyone's help indefeating this disease, because breast cancer touches all of us, whether personally or through those we love. We are committed to a cure. We are united in hope.

To learn more about Making Strides Against Breast Cancer of Columbus, contact the American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345, Robby Stephens at (888) 227-6446ext. 3208, or visit www.cancer.org/stridesonline.

Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

Look Good Feel Better-Teaches women make-up and beauty techniques to improve their appearance due to the side effects of cancer treatment. This program also helps improve self-confidence. Reach to Recovery-The American Cancer Society's one-to-one support program connecting breast cancer survivors with newly-diagnosed breast cancer patients. Tell A Friend-A program designed to encourage all women to get a mammogram. Women inform other female friends, co-workers, family members and others to get annual mammograms.