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This Week's Editorial
October—time to think pink PDF Print E-mail

By Jan Schultz, The Imperial Republican News Editor
You’ll see more pink colors in October than any other month of the year.
That’s because pink has become the symbolic color for fighting breast cancer. For decades, October has been observed as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I always welcome all of the support that flows this time of year.
All of us have someone in our family or an acquaintance who has battled or is battling the nation’s second leading cancer death among women (just behind skin cancer). That support needs to continue because women are still dying.
However, strides are being made in the treatment of the disease, and more and more is being learned on how to prevent it and keep it away from breast cancer survivors.
Four factors that are vital in avoiding the disease and combatting it as a survivor include good nutrition, regular physical activity, staying at a healthy weight and not smoking.
There continue to be new advancements in detecting breast cancer earlier including updates on a mutated gene (PALB2) and better mammogram screening.
I was especially interested in an updated study just released in August that indicates women found to have the PALB2 gene have a five to nine times greater risk of developing breast cancer. In previous studies on this gene, it was indicated the risk was much lower at two to four times. So if the gene can be detected, it could be a much earlier warning of the possibility of breast cancer. However, the testing is expensive and it may not be covered by health insurance.
Three-D mammograms are also reportedly finding breast cancers earlier. In contrast to the traditional digital mammogram, the 3-D exam provides a much clearer view of the tissue, thus can detect it earlier, according to the American Cancer Society.
October is a special month in my life, as I lost my mother to breast cancer 12 years ago. I long for a time when we don’t have to lose our loved ones to such a terrible disease.

 


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