If there's a glimmer of good news out there regarding breast cancer, it's that the rate of new cases in Kern County is trending downward.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Kern had 107.6 breast cancer cases per 100,000 females from 2009 through 2013 — the most recent years available — compared to 115.3 cases from 2005 through 2009.

Progress is being made in the fight against breast cancer thanks medical advances, as well as education and awareness campaigns such as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now in full swing in October.

And this year, a slew of local events have Kern County residents turning the town pink.

Coming up on Thursday is VIPink, slated to run from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the AIS Cancer Center, 2620 Chester Ave. The event, billed as "the breast event of the year," will feature reduced-price 3D mammograms available by appointment, beauty and cosmetology vendors, including special services by Beautologie Medical Group Inc. and Lavish Beauty, tastings from some of Bakersfield's newest restaurants, boutique shopping and the latest in breast health. RSVP at 637-8321.

Those who want the latest facts on breast health — and a free lunch, too — may want to attend Adventist Health Bakersfield's community education lecture, "Breast Myths BUSTed: Separating Fact from Fiction and Prevention Tips."

The lecture, which runs from noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 18 at the Adventist Health Bakersfield Conference Center, 1524 27th St., will feature breast surgeon Francesca Hoehne and Dr. Amira Ayad, medical director at the hospital's wellness center.

"One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer," said Jenny Lavers, operations director of the AIS Cancer Center. "Our lecture is a way for women to learn more about their breasts and the early signs and symptoms of breast cancer.

"Early detection," she said, "is the key to a higher survival rate."

Complimentary valet parking is available in front of the main hospital. RSVP by calling 869-6560.

The following day, on Oct. 19, the DoubleTree Hotel will host Paint the Town Pink, a fashion show and luncheon to benefit Links For Life, which provides mammograms, biopsies, support groups and other resources to local women battling breast cancer.

The vendor boutique will be rocking from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the lunch and fashion show begin at noon. Tickets are $50, with proceeds going to support the nonprofit.

To purchase tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com or call 322-5601 for more information.

The American Cancer Society recommends clinical breast exams every three years for women in their 20s and 30s, and every year for women 40 and older. Additionally, starting in their 20s, women should know when and how to perform self-breast exams.

This month, it's easier than ever. Women can receive a free clinical breast exam and screening from 5 p.m. to 7p.m. Oct. 24 at the AIS Cancer Center, 2620 Chester Ave. RSVP by calling 637-8321.

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