Is there anything more insidious than cancer? It is a remorseless killer of our family and friends; our enemies and rivals. It spreads pain and suffering in equal measure. It is both costly and wasteful. Nothing good comes from it in all its varieties — save for the inspiring stories of those who fought this monster and survived.
If we put cancer on trial before a world court, it would surely be put to death.
An end to cancer is part of what drives the weeks and months dedicated to awareness of everything from breast cancer to prostate cancer; from cancer of the esophagus, to the colon or lung cancer. The special days, weeks and months are scheduled, even celebrated to bring information to the public about these health menaces for which cures are elusive and money so desperately needed to improve the odds of successful treatment.
Early detection is a huge part of that equation. Knowing when something is wrong, then doing something about it, is critical to long-term survival.
October, most famously, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, noted by the symbol of a pink ribbon. Through the tireless efforts of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization and dozens of other outlets, breast cancer has become a focus for the nation. Professional football players wear pink shoes in October. Infants don pink hats. Even the image of Col. Sanders goes pink on a bucket of chicken at KFC.
Such symbols help keep this life and death battle well in public view and remind those most directly impacted of the supreme importance of early detection and action.
And it is a life and death fight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in eight women in the United States will get breast cancer. While men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer, it doesn’t happen often.
Some other things to remember, according to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
— Breast cancer can occur at any age, but it is more likely to occur after age 40.
— A mammogram is the best tool available to detect breast cancer early, even before a lump can be felt.
— While white women are more likely to get breast cancer, black women are more likely to die from it.
We hope Breast Cancer Awareness Month will perhaps spark people to donate toward the cure, or more importantly, make women aware of checking themselves for any signs of this killer disease.
And it also reminds us that while all cancers need this kind of attention, we wish one day for a world in which such awareness months would be unnecessary.
The New Bern Sun Journal