Every October, the color pink shows up in full force. From lapel pins to NFL uniforms, people integrate pink into their wardrobes to support breast cancer awareness month. As an awareness campaign, it’s incredibly successful. But awareness is just the first step. From awareness, public health education and advances in research are possible.
Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetimes.
Lydia Komarnicky, MD, professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology and a member of the board of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, says wearing pink “reminds people of the importance of the month of October and to get a mammogram if you have forgotten. More importantly I think the pink shirt, ribbon, hat, or merchandise of your choice honors those who have successfully beaten the disease, those who are currently battling the disease, and also reminds us of those that have succumbed to the disease."
The battle with breast cancer doesn’t necessarily end once you complete treatment. Dr. Komarnicky explains, “Once patients finish treatment, many have told me they are actually more anxious than when they were getting treatment because they felt as if something was being done. Suddenly treatment is over and they feel like they are on their own. This is where support groups can help and perhaps getting involved in the breast cancer movement by becoming a volunteer.”
Wearing pink during the month of October is a simple way to let these women know they’re not alone. Furthermore, wearing pink during breast cancer awareness month shows your support for educating the public, advancing research and honoring the millions of women who have fought the disease so that one day no women will have to fight it again.