Although we lack the ability to write this in pink type, we join with institutions across the nation that are promoting October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month with pink reminders of how far we have come in the battle against this awful disease and how far we have to go.
This year, the American Cancer Society estimates that nearly a quarter of a million women will be diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. It estimates that 40,000 women will die. Breast cancer ranks behind only skin cancer in frequency and lung cancer in mortality.
The good news is that breast cancer rates are declining, and that there are 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.
Awareness and early detection are credited with saving lives — but it is a fight that for now has no end in sight. Scientists have only vague ideas about causes and who is at more or less risk. Genetics probably play a role; lifestyle choices play a role; a handful of other factors likely come into play. But certainties are few and far between.
One certainty, however, is that the disease will not rest. If we rest on past laurels or become complacent, it will pick right up where it left off. Until there is a cure, there are individual victories, which we rightly celebrate, but no final victory that allows us to let down our guard.
With this in mind, we urge readers to become familiar with the disease (knowing the enemy is always step one) and to participate in fundraisers that generate money to be used for finding a cure.
Locally, the Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley website, www.bcacv.org, is a good place to start for news, fundraising information and support services.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but our pink carries on throughout the year, as we remember those who have been affected and work to ensure that those numbers will appreciably shrink as time goes by.