Because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, you will probably see a lot more people wearing pink.  For the past twenty-six years, this project has promoted awareness and education regarding breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in women, with the exception of skin cancers.  Breast cancer is the country’s second leading cause of cancer-related deaths. 

National public service associations such as the America Cancer Society, medical associations, and government agencies have all joined together in promoting breast cancer issues.  Breast Cancer Awareness Month is also observed internationally during October, with many charities raising funds for research.  It was great watching NFL teams wearing pink this past Sunday-either pink gloves, pink wristbands, or pink shoes.  Check out your community’s plans for promoting this worthy cause, and see how you can participate.   

According to the National Cancer Institute, age is the single most important risk factor.  Other things to consider are:

  • Family history; About 30% of women with breast cancer have a family history of it.
  • Body weight; being overweight increases the risk, especially in post-menopausal women.
  • Lack of physical activity; exercise tends to reduce the risk of breast cancer and recurrence of it.
  • Alcohol consumption; drinking alcohol slightly increases the risk.
  • Gender; breast cancer is 100 times more common in women than men.
  •  Age; Studies show that older women are more at risk, with about 80% of all cases in women over 50.
  •  HRT: long-term (several years) of hormone replacement therapy slightly increases the risk. 

Early detection is very important.  Physicians or mammography centers can show women how to do self-exams, and annual mammograms can save lives.  Surprisingly, one-half of breast cancer cases show up in women over age 65; therefore, they should continue getting mammograms through their 70’s. 

You will see all types of benefits and activities in October, promoting this very important issue that affects thousands.  If you see a man wearing pink, tell him “thanks”.  Chances are he has a mom, grandmother, wife, or daughter that he hopes won’t have to face breast cancer, or that he knows someone who is fighting the battle.  There are over 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in our country, thanks to the hard work that cancer research and medical technology have provided.  These survivors are to be commended for their courage.  Support this worthy cause, either by walking in one of their planned walks, or giving money and any assistance that you are able to do.  Hopefully, cancer research will find a cure for this devastating disease.

There is no one that doesn’t look “pretty in pink!”