By Renae Kimble

Program Coordinator, Cancer Services Program of Niagara County

           October is the month in which women throughout the entire world are reminded by the color pink that it is time to focus on breast cancer awareness.

            While pink reminds us to honor the countless lives lost to this disease, it also symbolizes just how far we have come in the fight against breast cancer.

            There was a time in the not-so-distant past that the words breast cancer were seldom uttered except by afflicted women and their doctors.  Pink has brought breast cancer out of the shadows into the light so that women are more aware, educated and supported – able to share their knowledge and encourage others to hope.

            Indeed, the color pink has become a beacon of hope for survivors, activists, health care professionals, government officials and others – a vivid reminder that breast cancer is no longer the death sentence it once was.

            You do not stand alone. Now more than ever thanks to education, early screening promotion and breast cancer awareness, there is a great chance your life can be saved if this cancer is detected early.

              There are more than 2.8 million breast cancer survivors who are willing to tell their triumphant stories of overcoming the enormous odds against this debilitating disease.  Pink represents all of the costs entailed – familial, financial and emotional – that individuals with breast cancer have faced head on in their quest to live a life that is finally cancer free.

              The color pink epitomizes the progress that we as a country have made in the cancer fight. This year approximately 232,670 women will hear the chilling news that they have been diagnosed with breast cancer. But owing to improvements in treatment, early screening and the declining use of hormone replacement therapy after menopause, the breast cancer death rate has been on a steady decline for the past 25 years.

            Pink reminds us to continue to get the word out that one in eight women will be stricken with breast cancer.  Excluding skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in the United States and represents 14 percent of all new cancer cases in our nation.

              It is estimated that a woman age 30 has about a one in 227 risk of developing breast cancer in the next ten years. For a woman age 40, the risk is about one in 68; for a woman age 50, it is about one in 42; and for a woman age 60, it is about one in 28. Breast cancer is most commonly found in women 50 years old or older.  These women are the fabric of our communities – wives, mothers, sisters, friends and neighbors.

              And it is not just about women.  Although fewer than 1 percent of new breast cancer diagnoses occur among men, it is possible for men to develop the disease.

              Pink is a constant reminder to women and men around the world that there is more work to do to eradicate this deadly nemesis.  We must remain forever diligent in the quest to obtain a cure.

              Pink keeps in the forefront the importance of having a breast cancer screening. Pink also is a reminder to uninsured women 40 years of age and older that the Cancer Services Program of Niagara County, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, funded by the New York State Department of Health  is here to assist you in obtaining your free mammogram today.

              Aren’t you worth it?  Make that call to (716) 278-4898.


Renae Kimble is program coordinator for the Cancer Services Program of Niagara County, a service of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

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