The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Editorials

October 3, 2013

Going pink

Everything is coming up pink all over — from a middle school team suited up in all-pink jerseys to a “pink out” at a high school football game.

Pink ribbons, pink lights, pink here, pink there, pink everywhere, all in the annual tribute to National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Even part of your newspaper will be pink on Oct. 14.

The point of all this pink is for women and men — yes, men get breast cancer, too — to become aware of the signs of cancer and to get to their doctor as soon as possible.

Breast cancer accounts for almost one in three cancers diagnosed in women in the U.S. By the end of 2013, the American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that 232,340 women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer and that an estimated 39,620 women will die from the disease.

In West Virginia, according to ACS, an estimated 1,460 women will be diagnosed and an estimated 280 will die.

Self-exams, clinical exams and mammograms are among the most common and least complicated methods of finding a mass before it becomes too large or metastasizes.

An oft-heard excuse for avoiding a mammogram — which the American Cancer Society recommends annually for women over 40, along with a clinical exam — is that it is too painful.

That specter should not prevent anyone from having the screening. If the technician is competent, pain should be minimal. Even if some discomfort is involved, it is surely outweighed by the early detection of cancer.

Women who do not think they can afford to have a mammogram can call the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program at 1-800-642-8522 or 304-558-5388 for information about where they can get a low-cost or free mammogram.

Other factors aiding in prevention are maintaining healthy weight, being physically active and limiting alcohol intake and smoking.

The ACS reported Tuesday that breast cancer death rates are down 34 percent since 1990, especially for women under age 50.

As we mentioned above, men can and do develop breast cancer. The Cancer Society says more than 2,200 cases will be diagnosed by year’s end and about 410 men will die.

Having said all this, here is what we want you to take away: Every individual is in charge of her (or his) body; no one else knows it better. If you suspect something is amiss, if you feel an unusual lump or see anything on yourself that looks out of the ordinary, take acation.

Get an exam, get a mammogram, do anything and everything you can to catch the cancer before it is large and the odds switch to its favor instead of yours.

Make that extra special effort to ensure you don’t become a statistic.

 

The pink jerseys will be worn tonight by the Trap Hill Middle School team. Game-time is 6 p.m.

Shady Spring High School Key Club has organized “pink-out” for its football game Friday night. A raffle with a variety of prizes will be held throughout the game.

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