It’s that time of year again.  It is October, the pink ribbon shows up and you can find opportunities to buy just about anything created in pink; even small appliances.  You know pink has truly taken hold when you see men at the gym wearing pink workout gear and football players wearing pink shoes.  There can be so much promotion of the pink items that there is a danger of losing sight of what that pink ribbon actually represents. 

October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month is a month dedicated to remembrance and awareness.  As you go about your daily lives this month please take a few moments to remember . . .

Please remember loved ones we lost to breast cancer and the valiant families and loved ones who supported them.  Please spend some extra time with a survivor.  I am grateful that my grandma, my aunt, and my dear friend from high school, all survived their battles with breast cancer.

Remember that over 3,900 mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends and daughters in Arizona were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.   And know that men also get breast cancer; 64 men were diagnosed in 2009. 

Remember that while the race to a cure continues, we still lose too many Arizonans to breast cancer each year.  During 2009 Arizona lost 701 women and 8 men to breast cancer.

Be aware that getting screened regularly is key; early detection of cancer saves lives.  Lack of health insurance does not have to get in the way of getting screened.  The Well Woman HealthCheck Program provides breast cancer screening and diagnostics to uninsured women in Arizona. 

Be aware that you can lower your risk of getting breast cancer through eating vegetables and fruits, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.  Research has shown increasing evidence for physical activity as a cancer prevention strategy, along with avoiding postmenopausal weight gain.


Be aware of resources that you can use and share with your family and friends. 

Be aware that as of August 2, 2012, uninsured women in Arizona who have been diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer may be eligible for help through the Breast and Cervical Cancer Treatment Program.

In addition to taking care of yourself and your loved ones, you can take an active role in multiple events throughout Arizona that focus on breast cancer.  Many ADHS staff will participate in the upcoming Making Strides Against Breast Cancer at Tempe Beach Park on October 27.  If taking a walk with thousands of other dedicated people is just not your style, there is something you can do to support getting uninsured Arizona women screened for breast cancer.  A pink ribbon license plate was created several years ago to support the Well Woman HealthCheck Program.  The license plate costs $25, and $17 of that supports breast and cervical cancer screening for Arizona’s uninsured women. 

October is no longer just the month for falling temperatures and Halloween decorations; it has become the month of pink.  I invite you to take a moment to remember the significance of all those pink ribbons and to be aware of active steps you can take to make a difference; for you, your family and Arizona.

[1] Fat or fit:  The joint effects of physical activity, weight gain, and body size on breast cancer risk.  Cancer, Volume 118, Issue 19, pages 4860-4868, October 2012