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There is nothing like the pink of a setting sun to stop you in your tracks -- and give you the pause you need to reflect on life itself.
Have you noticed each October that hundreds -- if not thousands -- of products are also colored pink, emblazoned with pink ribbons, or otherwise sold with a promise of donating a (small) portion of the total cost to support breast cancer awareness or research. That too gives me pause.
Like many people, I have deep relationships with friends (and family) who are linked to breast cancer one way or another. The American Cancer Society estimates that about 178,480 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer and about 40,460 women will die from the disease this year alone! On top of that, over 2 million women living in the United States will have been treated for breast cancer.
I think the best way to help each other deal with questions or concerns is to become educated on what exactly breast cancer is and how to prevent it from spreading.
There are basically 2 types of breast cancer, and within those types, there are five stages; stage 0 being an early stage of breast cancer and stage 4 being metastatic. These different stages are based on of the size of the tumor found in the breast. There are a variety of elements that can help us detect breast cancer at an early stage.
Here are 10 easy "Think Pink - Think Smart" steps you should challenge yourself to take:
- Perform monthly breast exams and encourage others to do the same
- Have annual clinical breast exams
- Have regular mammography screenings after the age of 40
- Get a group of ladies to go out to dinner, work, the park, and event and only wear pink -- even go to the clinic together
- Encourage married men, brothers, fathers and sons to get the women in their lives screened -- guys... put an annual date in your calendars, it can be a shared responsibility
- Some evidence suggests that rising health care costs and increasing co-pays may discourage women from seeking out testing. The financial burden of curing this disease can not be what prevents you from getting it into remission-- there are people in your life who are counting on you being around for them
- Knowledge is power. Don't let the fear of knowing you have the disease be the reason you don't survive it
- If you are a breast cancer survivor, mentor and support those who have been recently diagnosed
- Free or low-cost mammograms may be available, even for women without insurance. There are state-by-state toll free cancer hotlines that can help point you in the right direction
- If your life has been touched by breast cancer, share it out (do you blog?) - many people turn to the internet to understand first how other people handled the disease before they themselves take the first step towards a cure.
It is never too early to begin screening yourself. Breast cancer doesn’t discriminate. There are cases of breast cancer from all different ages, anywhere from 20 years of age to 70 and older. And like many other diseases, breast cancer shows no mercy.
As a member of the KooDooZ team, I challenge you "to be aware of what is pink in your life." I personally vow to take the challenge, do my annual screens, and earn the reward of many more cherished moments admiring the crimson of a setting sun.