The Garden City Telegram
10/1/2013
OPINIONS AND COMMENTARY

Pink power

Colorful campaign useful in war on deadly disease.

Pink is popping up everywhere, and for good reason.

October brings the observance of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign designed to raise awareness of a disease that kills more than 40,000 women each year in the United States, including hundreds in Kansas.

It's practically impossible to miss touches of pink that have become more evident over the years, whether in ribbons or other items created in the color now associated with breast cancer awareness.

Various local efforts are prime examples, to include the Garden City High School volleyball team's Sixth Annual Dig Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Rally on Oct. 10, with a Survivor/Memory Walk and other special events during the volleyball competition.

The Buffs deserve a high five for their efforts, as does Maggie Roth of Holcomb, a high school student who cultivated pink pumpkins to help raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research.

Regardless of how they come about, displays of pink also drive home the importance of early detection in saving lives.

Nearly two of every three women diagnosed with breast cancer reportedly are in the early stages, compared to less than half of women diagnosed 30 years ago. And, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has reported a decline in U.S. breast cancer deaths in recent years.

While such trends show progress, it's not enough.

According to the ACS, a lower percentage of women had mammograms from 2005-2010 (67 percent) than in 2000, when 70 percent were screened — a troubling development attributed to such factors as a false sense of security as breast cancer deaths decline, and a lack of insurance.

Sadly, many women also fear having a mammogram because of what the test may reveal. But early detection of breast cancer can't be nearly as frightening as the diagnosis that could come if the cancer is discovered at a later stage.

While National Breast Cancer Awareness Month brings a needed reminder for women to pursue breast cancer screening and conduct monthly self-exams, it's also a time to acknowledge how the power of pink is making a difference in the vital campaign.