Fall color is making the scene, but so is the color pink

Published 11:54 am Friday, October 13, 2023

Fall color is popular in October – red, yellow, gold and orange – as the leaves change color.
But, there’s another color that is popular in October – pink! It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
It’s everywhere in October, just like the colors of nature. Pink serves as a reminder, too, of what can come through greater awareness and more research in the fight against breast cancer.
Breast cancer is responsible for the deaths of about 40,000 U.S. women each year – mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and friends. About one in eight will get the diagnosis at some point during her lifetime.
Men get breast cancer, too, but it is more rare than in women – about 1 in every 1,000.
Almost all of us know someone that has had breast cancer, if not in our family, then in our church or work family, a friend or neighbor.
Time was when the diagnosis meant extreme surgery and difficult follow-up treatment. Thanks to research and greater action on the part of women and men, that has changed. So has the survival rate.
Forty years ago, less than 75 percent of women with breast cancer survived more than five years. Today, the survival rate is more than 90 percent. Those stats come from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The incidence of breast cancer is declining, too, the CDC reports, by 0.9 percent a year.
While that’s all good news, that’s why October is a celebration of pink.
This recognition of the impact of breast cancer began in 1985 as a month-long partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries. Betty Ford, former first lady, was at the initial kick-off event. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer when her husband, Gerald Ford, was president. Her participation brought much attention to the issue of breast cancer. Since 2006, the time of awareness has been expanded to the entire month of October.
This is an annual campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer, encourage early detection, promote mammograms as a very important tool in the fight, and raise funds for breast cancer research and support services. It is a time for all Americans to take time to acknowledge the individuals whose lives have been affected by breast cancer.
The pink ribbons, worn by so many people each October, were the creation of Estee Lauder cosmetics in 1992. That year, an impressive 1.5 million ribbons were distributed and served as a visual reminder of this awareness month. In the ongoing years, the National Football League has become one of the largest supporters, with most players, coaches and referees wearing pink to show their support.
Pink everywhere serves as a reminder for women to put fear, procrastination and neglect aside and get regular screening for breast cancer. The reason is simple: Earlier detection leads to more treatment options and a better outcome.
Pink also reminds us to remember those who have been lost to breast cancer – the people you know and love. They would be the first to back efforts at greater awareness, to encourage regular screening and to support research that can lead to more advanced treatment and cure.
During October Breast Cancer Awareness, the Things To Do List should include screening and early detection by getting a mammogram; encouraging family and friends to do the same; getting educated about breast cancer; and supporting the work of breast cancer advocacy organizations.
And finally, pink links family and friends to those now facing breast cancer. Support them with the kind of encouragement that means the most to them – not only in October, but as long as their fight continues.

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