Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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Opinion

October 1, 2013

This month, think pink

We added a pink ribbon today to our “flag” — the term we use for our big, bold, front-page logo. Expect to see it in the next 30 days.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We urge every woman over the age of 40, and younger women with a family history of breast cancer, to talk to a doctor about scheduling a mammogram.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month began 28 years ago. And since that time, the number of American women getting mammograms has doubled, according to organizers of the yearly observance. In 2010, more than 75 percent of women — but just 71.3 percent of Hoosier women — over 40 reported having a mammogram in the past two years, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

Still, the National Cancer Institute estimates 232,340 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year, and 39,620 will die of the disease.

Men are not exempt. The Institute anticipates 2,240 men will receive a breast cancer diagnosis in 2013, and 410 will die from it.

Breast Cancer Awareness Month organizers say mammograms are the best available method at detecting changes in breast tissue that could be cancer. When breast cancer starts, the National Cancer Institute says, it is too small to feel and does not cause signs or symptoms.

Mammograms help doctors see early signs of breast cancer. If the disease is caught early, it might be possible to treat it before it spreads.

Ladies, if you haven’t seen your doctor in a year, make an appointment to do so. And men, gently remind the women in your life to get a mammogram.

Breast cancer doesn’t always end in a worst-case scenario. But the earlier it is discovered, the better.

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