Monday, October 24, 2011

Too Much Pink? Or Not Enough?

As Breast Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, it's been incredibly rewarding to see the sheer number of pink events that have occurred across our community this year. It seems that October gets "pinker" every year, which I think is a very great thing.

But for some, the question has arisen: Is there too much pink, and is it glamorizing breast cancer? To answer the first part of that question, I say no. The amount of awareness generated by pink events is tremendous, and even more importantly, the amount of research dollars raised has allowed us to make significant advancements in the understanding and treatment of the disease. As I've said many times before, research is the foundation for eliminating cancer, and without it, all cancers - including breast cancer - would be a death sentence, like they were just a few decades ago.

As for whether breast cancer is becoming glamorous, it is important to remember the realities of this disease. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 230,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in 2011, and more than 39,000 deaths will occur because of it. And while the overall five-year survival rate is around 89 percent, it is still the second-leading cause of cancer death among women (after lung cancer).

I do, however, encourage you to do your research to make sure your donations go to the right cause or organization, such as the American Cancer SocietySusan G. Komen for the Cure, or us at the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, where 100 percent of your donation will go directly toward research.

So, is there too much pink? No, there isn't. But we need more colors! For instance, November is both lung cancer and pancreatic cancer awareness month. Wouldn't it be great to see Birmingham covered in pearl for lung cancer and purple for pancreatic cancer? Or in teal for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month in September? Or dark blue for March's Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month? We should not, and must not, limit cancer awareness for one month out of the year.

Cancer is a 24-7-365 fight, and we need to be all in this together. I thank you for your support!

-Ed Partridge, M.D.

1 comment:

  1. I say cover the trees with color!! Use lights that can be filtered and change the filters each month to represent the cancer being supported!! Knowledge is power!!