October puts a heightened focus on the fight against cancer in Kansas and nationwide.

National Breast Cancer Awareness month is a time to raise awareness of a disease that’s the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women, affecting one in eight in the United States, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It’s also the second-leading cause of cancer death in women.

Throughout the month, touches of pink should remind us of the fight against breast cancer and other forms of the disease.

Cancer was blamed for nearly 5,600 deaths in 2014 in Kansas, the most recent figure available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The American Cancer Society has predicted nearly 1.7 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2017, and some 609,000 Americans likely will die this year of the disease.

Promoting healthier lifestyles is one vital endeavor. Experts say about 40 percent of all cancers could be prevented if people stopped smoking and overeating, limited their alcohol, exercised regularly and received vaccines targeting cancer-causing infections.

While strides have been made in early detection and life-saving treatments, there’s still a long way to go.

This nation has fallen short in its commitment to cancer research. Inexcusably, President Trump pitched a budget plan that would cut already inadequate annual federal funding for the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health budgets by several billion dollars at a time the nation should invest more, not less, in critical cancer research.

Knowing as much, give credit to folks at the grassroots level who care enough to make a difference.

On Saturday, several hundred local and area residents took part in this year’s Leave a Legacy Foundation 5K and 10K races. Proceeds benefit local patients, St. Catherine Hospital’s Midwest Cancer Alliance membership and other related ventures.

Also, various “Pink Out” activities are taking place at athletic events and other gatherings in the region, all designed to provide reminders of the importance of preventive health-care measures and research

Every contribution matters and will help patients and their families. How heartwarming to see so many local and area residents eager to contribute to the cause until the deadly disease is no longer a threat.