Tennessee Department of Health promotes Pink & Pearl Campaign for breast and lung cancer awareness

Published 2:53 pm Thursday, October 5, 2023

NASHVILLE – Throughout October and November, the Tennessee Department of Health is leading the annual Pink & Pearl Campaign to raise awareness for breast and lung cancer.
The Pink & Pearl Campaign combines the pink ribbon, a widely recognized symbol for breast cancer awareness, with the pearl ribbon, signifying lung cancer awareness. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among female Tennesseans, while lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer-related mortality for both men and women.
Tennessee Health Commissioner Ralph Alvarado, MD, FACP, emphasizes the importance of routine cancer screenings in safeguarding health and increasing the chances of survival upon cancer diagnosis. “We can save more Tennesseans from breast and lung cancer if we reduce cancer risks, such as tobacco use, and intervene early in cancer detection,” says Commissioner Alvarado.
Breast Screening Recommendations
Federal health guidelines currently recommend that women commence regular mammogram screenings at the age of 50. However, depending on risk factors, some women may need to initiate screening at an earlier age. It is advised that women consult their healthcare provider for personalized guidance, and further information can be found on the CDC’s breast cancer awareness webpage.
The Tennessee Breast and Cervical Screening Program (TBSCP) extends breast and cervical screening services to uninsured and underinsured women, along with diagnostic testing for qualifying men and women. Uninsured and underinsured individuals requiring treatment for breast or cervical cancer, or precancerous conditions, may be eligible for TennCare coverage through the Presumptive Eligibility Program. More information can be obtained by visiting TBSCP online or contacting your local health department.
Lung Screening Recommendations
For adults aged 50 to 80, with a smoking history of 20 pack-years, and those who currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years, it is recommended to consult their healthcare provider to evaluate risk factors and determine if annual lung cancer screening is advisable. For fundamental lung cancer information, individuals can visit the CDC website.
Driving to a Cure
TBSCP also bolsters its cancer screening program with the “Driving to a Cure” Tennessee license plate. Tennessee drivers with existing “Driving to a Cure” plates can obtain the new plate design when renewing their vehicle registration online. For those seeking new registrations for the “Driving to a Cure” specialty plate, in-person visits can be made at any Tennessee County Clerk’s office, with an annual fee of $61.50 for the plate.
Reducing Disparities
Both breast and lung cancer disproportionately impact minority populations, though they affect individuals of all races and ethnicities. Black men and women are more likely to be diagnosed at later stages of these diseases than their white counterparts and also face higher mortality rates. Data also suggests that Black women and men are diagnosed with more aggressive subtypes of these cancers than white individuals.
Pink and Pearl Day
On Friday, Nov. 3, Tennesseans are encouraged to support the campaign by wearing pink and pearls, and sharing photos on social media using the campaign hashtags #TNPinkandPearl and #MyPinkandPearlWhy.
The Tennessee Department of Health’s mission is to protect, promote, and enhance the health and well-being of Tennessee residents. For further details about TDH services and programs, visit www.tn.gov/health.

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