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Getting Pink: 25 Years Later, Breast Cancer Awareness Month Still Needs Support

October 14, 2011
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Please don't turn away because you see pink. Please don't think reading something with pink on it makes you less of a tire person. In fact, not paying attention could make you less of a person.


The ribbon on our front cover and the logo on this page are in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an endeavor Tire Review magazine has chosen to support.

Sadly, NBCAM is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. That means that in 25 years of working to build awareness and develop millions in donations, no cure has been uncovered. Researchers and doctors continue thinking and testing and experimenting, driven to wipe out cancer – all cancer – soon.

There are many types of cancers, and while doctors might reassuringly say that one type is not as bad as another, they are all horrible, dreadful. Not only do cancers eat away at the flesh, they eat away at the spirit.

That is why, perhaps, breast cancer is the worst. Not only is it statistically the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women, it is as much a disease of self-image and self-confidence as it is a disease of the body. One in eight women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lives, more often than not resulting in radical surgeries.

For 2010, it was expected that 207,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer would be diagnosed in U.S. women – and about 2,000 new cases in men. Yes, men, but this is about the wives, friends, sisters, aunts, in-laws, co-workers and employees, and moms lost – perhaps yours, and statistically speaking, certainly someone you know.

NBCAM is about not forgetting. It started 25 years ago as a week-long educational program. Founders and corporate supporters handed out pamphlets, spoke to the media and testified before a Congressional committee about the need for widespread access to mammography – a crucial and precise, if not unpleasant, diagnostic tool.

Today, NBCAM is comprised of several national public service organizations, medical associations and gov­ern­ment agencies – all working to educate, share information and provide access to screening services. Much of that awareness, believe it or not, still must target women, pushing and prodding them to get tested, to consult their health care providers, to learn and take action.

As much as women insist that they are quite different than men, it is in these very personal health care matters where both sexes act the same and choose avoidance over the check-ups and tests they see as embarrassing. “It can’t happen to me,” they reason.

Yes, it can.

This month you will see the tough guys of the NFL and NHL donning pink-colored gear, much of which will later be auctioned off to help raise funds for cancer research or help in-need patients and their families. This month you’ll see many national and local activities to raise awareness and support research and help victims. If you aren’t already doing so, join us in supporting them.

Tire dealers are a generous lot, and donate so much in dollars and other support to so many vital charities and efforts. And while the collective efforts of this fantastic industry will not by it­self snuff out cancer, you can help simply by urging loved ones, custo­m­ers, employees, friends and even pass­ers-by to take advantage of early detection and get screening mammograms and breast exams at regular intervals.

Despite advances in medicine, early detection and action is still the best course to survival. For it to matter, everyone must stop being embarrassed or faux brave and start being smart.

The good news about NBCAM is that its educational efforts are working. More women than ever before are getting tested. And while breast cancer took the lives of some 40,000 women in the U.S. last year, death rates due to the disease have shrunk since 1990.

The pink ribbon to support breast cancer awareness and education is not that color because it’s a “female thing.” It’s all about staying “in the pink” health-wise – male or female. October may be National Breast Cancer Aware-ness Month, but awareness has to be there every single day. NBCAM should not be a “celebration” that is forgotten 24 hours later.

For more information on National Breast Cancer Awareness Month or how you can help, visit nbcam.org.
Others that could use your support? National Breast Cancer Foundation – nationalbreastcancer.org; Breast Cancer Network of Strength – networkofstrength.org; Susan G. Komen for the Cure – komen.org; CancerCare – cancercare.org; and American Cancer Society – cancer.org.