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Do More Than Wear Pink

Pink, a fall color? In recent years, orange and black of Halloween, and brown, gold, and red of fall have been upstaged by pink. MLB players wear pink socks or sweatbands; pink ribbons adorn NASCAR vehicles. NCAA and NFL players wear uniforms accented with pink. Pink flags substitute for the usual yellow ones thrown by the referees to signify penalties. And did you notice both Michele Obama and Ann Romney wore pink dresses instead of their typical red or blue to the second presidential debate?

The pink ribbon breast cancer awareness campaign sends a far reaching, effective reminder of the importance of dedicating resources to research and early detection of breast cancer. However, all the pink is completely useless if all you do is where pink or buy pink ribbons or product packaged in pink with the promise a portion of the proceeds will support one of the groups involved with breast cancer awareness. What you really need to do is a monthly breast self-exam. This, in conjunction with regular exams by health professionals, positively impacts your health.

It’s easy to think these exams aren’t necessary until you’re older. Women in their twenties and thirties don’t get breast cancer. Well, that thinking is just plain wrong! Women in their twenties and thirties do get breast cancer. With early detection and treatment the prognosis is good, but you are the key to early detection.

I find some of the breast cancer awareness slogans offensive. “Save the Ta-Tas”, “Grope for the Cause”, or “Save the Titties” may be cute, slightly off color ways to bring attention to breast health, but I would be offended if I lost a loved one to breast cancer. The sexual appeal of breasts seems misguided when 40,000 people, both men and women, in the U.S. die of breast cancer each year. I know sex sells. These risqué slogans get attention and many believe any attention in good attention, but I’m going to pass on the cute slogans. I’m even going to pass on wearing excessive amounts of pink. No pink hair extensions, no pink shoelaces, no pink nail polish, no pink ribbons on the car. Instead, I’ll just do monthly exams and schedule yearly physicals and mammograms. When I donate to one of the organizations that support breast cancer awareness, it will be in a month other than October; and it won’t be for some pink product.

If you want to go crazy for pink, by all means do so! But please go crazy for a monthly breast self exam. You may even want to download the free Early Detection Plan: Breast Cancer app for your phone or iPad. It sets reminders for monthly exams and keeps track of mammograms and exams by health care professionals. Seems like an easy way to keep track of important health information.

One more thing to add to your to do list: complete a monthly breast self exam!