October colors include reds, yellows, oranges – and pink

Published 7:30 pm Thursday, October 13, 2011

The foothills in October are known for their beautiful colors, warm shades of red, vibrant yellows, brilliant oranges and a hopeful, soft pink.

Pink, you might ask? Yes, pink.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The pink ribbon represents the hope for a cure of breast cancer, which is the leading cause of death in women ages 40 to 55.

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According to the American Cancer Society, about 230,480 women in the United States will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in 2011. An additional 57,650 women will be diagnosed with non–invasive breast cancer and approximately 40,000 women will die.

Men are also victims of breast cancer; with almost 2,000 cases diagnosed in 2011. In North Carolina, more than 6,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

There is good news – right now there are more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States. And while there is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, there are things you can do to help lower your risk and increase the odds of survival if cancer is found.

Find breast cancer early!

Early detection is the best protection.

According to Teresa Marlowe, RTRM, manager of St. Luke’s Radiology Services, this year marks 25 years that the Pink Ribbon campaign has educated women about the importance of early breast cancer detection, diagnosis and treatment.

This year, a key message is the importance of annual mammogram screenings for women over age 40.

These screenings are a woman’s best chance for detecting cancer early. And new treatment options, along with early detection, can significantly improve chances of survival. When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is 96 percent.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., St. Luke’s Hospital is sponsoring free breast exams, education and, when needed, a referral for a mammogram.

This free community service is designed to provide early detection for the best protection. The hospital is particularly trying to reach women who don’t see a physician regularly. Spaces are limited and appointments are necessary. Please call 828-894-2408 to schedule an appointment.

The American Cancer Society also suggests you change the risk factors that are under your control.
Limit alcohol use, exercise regularly and stay at a healthy weight. Women who choose to breast-feed for at least several months may also reduce their breast cancer risk. Not using hormone therapy after menopause can also help you avoid raising your risk.

For more information about breast cancer, visit the American Cancer Society’s website at www.cancer.org/Cancer/BreastCancer.

Want to show your support locally?

This Saturday at 9 a.m. there will be a benefit softball tournament at the recreation ball fields at Polk County Middle School. The benefit tournament is for Kim Jolley, who is fighting breast cancer.

Members from local fire departments, EMS, the sherriff’s office and some out-of-town teams will participate. The event will last until a winner is crowned. The public is encouraged to come out, enjoy the day and show support.